The world’s most populated and one of the most polluted countries has just approved a significant amendment to its renewable energy law this last Saturday, December 26, 2009. According to Xinhua News, the top legislator of the People's Republic of China said that this modification would "greatly promote a healthy and rapid development of the renewable energy sector and adjust energy structure to strengthen the building of an environment-friendly and resource-saving society".
The new amendment requires electric utilities "to buy all the power produced by renewable energy generators". Additionally, the amendment sets a special fund for "renewable energy scientific research, finance rural clean energy projects, build independent power systems in remote areas and islands, and build information networks to exploit renewable energy". The clean energy sources included as renewable are wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal and ocean.
According to the same Xinhua report entitled “China amends law to boost renewable energy law", the statistics for 2008 indicate that 9% of the total power consumption in China came from renewable sources with wind and solar power generation ranking top in the world. The report mentions that further development in transmission networks are needed to make all the over generated energy from renewable resources available to the areas that require it most. The amendment requires utilities to "improve transmitting technologies and enhance grid capability to absorb more power produced by renewable energy generators". This requirement calls for the development and use of Smart Grid technologies to optimize the resources available in the interconnected grids.
The original law is in effect since January 2006. It was "aimed at 'optimizing the country's energy structure and safeguarding energy security'. It covered subsidies, pricing management and supervision measures".
China currently dominates 98% of all the Rare Earth minerals produced in the world. These minerals are essential to the development and manufacturing of green energy technologies. Their announcement last September to cut the amount of exports to use it on its own industry was covered in our article "Rare Earth minerals fever prompted by higher demand of green technologies and supply crunch".
More information is available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/26/content_12706612.htm