China plans national renewable energy center

The center will be responsible for policy-making, key project and program management, market and industrial operations, database and information platform establishment and international exchange program coordination, Han Wenke, director general of Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, said yesterday.

The establishment of the center is still in the preliminary planning stages, Han said at the launch of the Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Program. The Danish government will invest 100 million Danish krone (130 million yuan) in the program, which is slated to last until 2013.

The combination of Denmark’s sector experience and China’s strong economic position offer a good starting point for the program. "The project is set to combine the advantages of the two countries and promote renewable energy development fast and well in China," said Danish Minister of Climate Change and Energy Lykke Friis.

Some Danish companies have already made large financial commitments to China. Vestas, a world leader in wind power equipment manufacturing said last year its investment in China would exceed 3 billion yuan by the end of 2009. The company’s rapid growth in the country is in line with the strong growth of China’s wind energy sector, according to the company.

China made great progress in renewable energy growth last year. It accounted for 7.5 percent of the country’s primary energy consumption in 2009 – or the equivalent of 230 million tons of coal, said Liu Qi, vice-director of the National Energy Administration.

"No matter what happens with international climate change negotiations, reducing fossil fuel consumption and developing renewable energy will be the best way to ensure a secure energy supply," said Liu.

"The target of reducing carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent in 2020, based on 2005 emissions, will depend more on the development of renewable energy," he said.

China has become the third largest producer of wind power in the world and is responsible for around 40 percent of the output of the world’s solar photovoltaics. Photovoltaics or PVs are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into electricity. Renewable energy is helping China complete its economic transformation and achieve energy security, said analysts.

China issues rules on maritime wind energy projects with stress on environmental protection

China has issued regulations on the development and construction of offshore wind power projects in a bid to promote reasonable use of sea space and resources and better protect oceanic environment.

The regulations, jointly issued by the National Energy Administration and the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), include 38 articles in ten chapters, according to a statement released Tuesday by the SOA.

The rules specify procedures and requirements for the planning of offshore wind energy developments, the authorization of such projects, the application and approval of the use of sea space, and construction verification of wind farms and wind turbines, among others.

The rules stress that projects should be based on the principles of planning before major construction starts. According to the regulations, energy departments at provincial level will be responsible for drawing up plans for local offshore wind energy development, while oceanic departments at the same level should provide initial opinions on the plans regarding the projects’ impact on the ocean environment.

Such projects should be conducted according to reasonable distribution and sparing use of sea areas, the rules said. In addition, projects may only be started after being verified by authorities and the obtaining of rights for the use of the sea space.

When it comes to uninhabited islands, projects should also receive certificates of island use, according to the procedures set out by the law of island protection. The rules also require project principals to report on project’s environmental impact with submissions to the oceanic administrative department.