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US$85b to be spent on power

CHINA plans to spend 580 billion yuan (US$85 billion) on the power industry this year, with a greater focus on nuclear reactors, wind farms and grid construction.

The figure, unveiled by the National Energy Administration, is slightly higher than the 576.3 billion yuan spent on power infrastructure last year.

Of the 2008 expenditure, 287.9 billion yuan went to power generation projects, down 10.8 percent from 2007, and 288.5 billion yuan in electricity distribution, up 17.7 percent, according to the China Electricity Council.

China's spending on power distribution has long lagged behind that of power generation. Last year marked the first time investment in power grids exceeded that of generation.

The portion of grid investment in total power spending is set to continue to rise as China's two distribution monopolies have announced significant spending on grid construction and upgrades as part of the government's economic stimulus plan.

China will start the construction of nuclear power plants in provinces including Zhejiang, Shandong and Guangdong this year, with a combined capacity of 8.4 gigawatts, the China Securities Journal said.

China currently has 11 working nuclear reactors with a joint capacity of 9.07GW - just 1.3 percent of total generating capacity. The government has raised its goal for nuclear power capacity to 5 percent of total power production by 2020, from a previous 4 percent.

The government also plans to build several large-scale wind farms over the next decade in Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Hebei.


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