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Sun Rongmao

Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in São Paulo


Ethanol in China

The government of China had always given great importance to research and innovation initiatives related to renewable energy, as an important contribution to the application of the concept of scientific, sustainable and quick development of the economy. The speed at which this new and renewable energy increases in China is among the fastest in the world.

Our basic policy is to develop hydroelectric power in an orderly manner, positively foster nuclear energy, and support and encourage the development of biomass, solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy in the fields. In January 2006, China sanctioned the “Renewable Energy Law”, which provided the political guarantee for the development of renewable energy.

In 2007, we invested US$ 12 billion in the field of renewable energy, the second highest investment in this area in the world. To face the financial and economic crisis, the Chinese government established an economic growth incentive plan, budgeted at US$ 600 billion, in which renewable energy is a priority objective. In 2009, the share of renewable energy in the primary energy consumption matrix increased from 8.4% to 9.9%.

The forecast for 2020 is that total renewable energy consumption will be equivalent to 600 million tons of standard coal, equal to 20% of China’s current consumption. There is great potential for the development of renewable energy in China. According to the statistics, our country has 100 million hectares of degraded, waste and swamp lands, where cultures could be planted and biodiesel produced.

Chinese agriculture produces more than 700 million tons of straw per year, whose use could be redirected to produce bioenergy. Nowadays, in the provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu, model projects for the generation of electric power from straw are being implemented. In 2007, China approved 87 projects of this kind, totaling an installed capacity of 2.2 million kW, of which 15 projects have already been built and 30 are still under construction.

At the end of 2008, the total capacity of electric power from biomass was 3.15 million kW. Beginning in 2008, the Chinese government included the development of biogas in the national development plan, the country is conducting research on technology for transforming straw, firewood, animal dung, organic residues and trash to renewable energy.

Obviously, in order to guarantee the people’s food supplies, China cannot use great amounts of corn and colza seeds to refine to fuel, or use large tracts of tillable land to grow agricultural produce such as sugarcane. In order to upgrade research and production of renewable energy, I believe we must focus on the following factors:

1. Reinforce the understanding of the importance of using renewable energy. Due to the development of industry and the increase of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, our planet is undergoing climate change and suffering from natural disasters. Therefore, using clean energy, diminishing CO2 emissions, and protecting the atmosphere, are the most urgently required initiatives. We all should pressure our governments to plan on using clean energy in the future, increase financial support, and accelerate the use of renewable energy to the highest degree, while using as much land as possible.

2. Reinforce research and scientific investigation, fostering research initiatives for renewable energy in all possible areas. Thus, what we need is a long-term view, to accelerate the strategy to bring this about. Each country should develop renewable energy from different materials, in accordance with its inherent characteristics, thereby shifting technological research and innovation to the express lane.

3. Strengthen international cooperation. Developed countries already began producing electric power from biomass in the early 90’s, which is high technology they master. In the common interest of all humanity, the developed countries have the obligation of helping developing countries in the fields of technology and funding, bringing about joint development and providing protection for our common life space.

On the other hand, the developing countries must plan and participate positively, taking on their international responsibility. My friends, Brazil began researching and using ethanol as fuel in the early 70’s, based on the country’s natural advantage, and nowadays dominates this technology. It also made a major contribution to mitigating emissions and protecting the environment.

China is very much interested in researching renewable energy development together with Brazil, under circumstances compatible with its situation. I believe that through this International Forum we may reach broad consensus, focus more on the development and use of the new and renewable energies, in an increasingly closer cooperation, contributing even more to the planet’s well-being.