China meets 5-year energy-saving goal

Clean energy use has gained momentum, as hydro, solar energy and wind power generates more than 3 trillion kilowatts of electricity, saving 1.5 billion tonnes of coal and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 3 billion tonnes.

Sinovel, China’s top wind turbines producer, plans to raise up to $1.4 billion in one of the most expensive main board IPOs in Shanghai, hoping to ride high on the back of strong demand for Chinese renewable energy stocks.

State-owned Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., the fifth-largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, established Goldwind USA last year. China’s Goldwind has won its bid for the 106.5MW Shady Oaks wind farm in Illinois, marking a significant victory for the Chinese wind power industry. China now has at least two manufacturing companies among the world’s top ten (Sinovel and Goldwind).

China said Thursday it could basically meet its goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by around 20 percent from 2005 levels by the end of 2010.

Zhang Ping, director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s economic planning body, made the remarks at a work conference on energy, saying detailed data is yet to be released.

In early December, Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks, said the nation achieved its goal of reducing total pollutant emissions by 10 percent over the five years to 2010.

As China’s economy has grown fast for nearly a decade, inefficient use of energy and pollution has posed a threat to sustainable and balanced growth.

To achieve the goals, China conducted a nationwide campaign to eliminate energy-consuming and polluting facilities in industries such as electricity generating and steel making.

Over the past five years, China replaced outdated thermal power plants with environmentally-friendly ones, saving more than 300 million tonnes of coal, said Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), at the meeting.

The nation’s 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) sets out to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product markedly.

"It is a very important goal. But it will enhance efforts to promote technology and industrial upgrading," Zhang Ping told the conference.

As many provincial governments are doubling their GDP growth targets over the next five years, Zhang said they should take energy use into account when mapping out their GDP target.

"We should maintain a certain amount of economic growth but also be mindful of energy and environment goals. GDP growth targets should not be set too high, as energy use is not unlimited," he said.

According to the meeting, the NEA will start pilot programs for energy saving and emission cutting.

The government will expand the number of households that use methane gas in rural areas to 60 million and build 3,000 methane gas stations by the end of 2015.

Zhang Guobao said that although new energy generates an increasing share of the nation’s electricity, coal-fired power plants will continue to play a major role.

He said newly-built coal-fired power generation capacity will hit 80 million kilowatts in 2011 and reach nearly 270 million kilowatts by the end of 2015.

In November 2009, China pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.