26 February 2012

China sets up first renewable-energy think tank

China has established its first national think tank on renewable energy to conduct research and develop programs and policies, as part of the country's effort to deal with climate change and carbon emissions

By Du Juan | China Daily | 02-24, 2012

The China National Renewable Energy Center, launched on Thursday, will also draft industrystandards and carry out international cooperation programs.

The center was established by the National Energy Administration with the support of theNational Development and Reform Commission.

The center also draws on previous cooperation with Denmark, which established a renewabledevelopment program in 2009. The Scandiavian country is providing financial and technologysupport for the center.

"In China, developing policies and strategies for renewable energy is a complex task becausegovernment leaders have to weigh all aspects to ensure that it will benefit the entire country,"said Wang Zhongying, head of the center.

"That is not to say that our government doesn't have the courage to make policy. Rather, astrong think tank can provide solid research to support policymakers," said Wang, who is alsothe deputy head of the Energy Research Institute under the NDRC.

In 2011, installed generation capacity of "clean energy" - hydropower, nuclear, wind, solarpower and biomass - accounted for 27.5 percent of the nation's total installed electricitygeneration capacity, up 0.9 percentage point year-on-year, said Sun Yucai, vice-president of the China Electricity Council.

Sun made the comment during the 2012 China Power & Clean Energy Expo on Thursday inBeijing.

The tiny increase indicates that there's been slow progress so far in renewable energydevelopment for the 12th Five-Year-Plan (2011-15).

Hydropower generation capacity stood at 230 million kilowatts, 21.8 percent of the total.

For nuclear, the figure was 12.57 million kW (1.2 percent), while for wind power it was 45 millionkW (4.3 percent), according to Sun.

"We have to build up a system of policies and management that can serve the industry better",said Liu Qi, deputy head of the NEA.

"The successful experience of the European Union and the United States proves that to set upa national organization to conduct research and manage the industry is necessary andbeneficial for its long-term development."

The new center has a steering committee and management committee composed ofgovernment officials and a consultant committee with scientists, experts and analysts fromChina, Denmark, the US and Spain which specialize in wind, solar and biomass energy.

The center will focus on four major aspects of renewable energy: estimates of the potential foroffshore wind power, biomass energy, solar power and the grid integration of renewableenergy.

Universities, companies and local governments can seek advice from the center for renewableenergy programs, according to Gao Hu, the center's deputy director.

China has signed agreements with Denmark related to the new center, and will also pursuecooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US and energy agencies inSpain.

Friis Arnen Petersen, ambassador of Denmark to China, said the center's opening was abreakthrough in China's road to green growth.

Denmark has donated 100 million krone ($17.9 million) to support bilateral work in renewableenergy, said Sun Yuanjiang, deputy director of the international department of the Ministry of Commerce.

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