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China targets nuke power to rise to 5% for greener growth

CHINA aims to raise nuclear power from 4 percent to 5 percent of total installed capacity by 2020 to encourage greener growth.

The original goal, set in 2007, called for 40 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2020, or 4 percent of the nation's power generation capacity.

The revision upward comes as total capacity could be bigger than previously thought and nuclear power, as a clean energy, should make a larger contribution to consumption, Sun Qin, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, told a media briefing in Beijing yesterday.

Nuclear power is also expected to account for 7 to 8 percent of China's power output by 2020, a jump from 2 percent last year, Sun said, adding the figures need to be further studied before becoming official target.

Sun said that by 2020 China should be able to largely rely on itself in designing and building reactors.

Meanwhile, Liu Qi, another deputy chief at the energy bureau, confirmed China has been working on a stimulus plan for the new energy sector for two months, and a preliminary draft has been drawn up.

In addition to renewable sources such as wind and solar, the plan would cover other fields such as the development of clean coal technology and a smart grid, Liu said, without saying when the plan would be unveiled.

A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability. The State Grid Corp of China last month said a smart grid would be completed by 2020, and some analysts said the government may announce more details of the plan next month.

But Zhang Guobao, head of the energy bureau, yesterday said such a plan won't be a reality in the near term as there are disagreements over how the program should be developed.

Zhang also said construction of China's second phase of strategic petroleum reserves will begin soon.

Besides, China's power demand shrank by 4.03 percent in the first four months from the same period last year due to the global economic downturn. Zhang said the trend contrasted sharply with the record before September last year, when the power demand kept rising at double-digit growth.

Zhang forecast the figure for the first five months would be a decline of roughly 4 percent.

Tan Yongyao, spokesman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, China's power regulator, estimated the power demand would start rising in as early as the second quarter.


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