China's New Energy Plan

The new incentives for solar farms and rooftop panels are to be introduced, possibly as early as next month, while government funding will also be made available for large-scale wind farm projects.

Precise details of the new incentive schemes are yet to be released, but the investment is expected to come from China's $586bn economic stimulus package, which was announced last year to offset the impact of the global financial downturn.

The investment will be focused on increasing China's renewable energy capacity, excluding hydropower, to account for six per cent of its overall power supply by 2020. Despite rapidly emerging as a key player in the global clean tech market, currently just 1.5 per cent of China's energy comes from renewable sources.

By 2020, the government hopes to be able to generate more than 100GW of energy through wind power and have installed solar capacity of 1,800MW.

As well as cutting carbon emissions, a more diverse energy mix is also expected to enhance China's energy security. Currently, about 75 per cent of the country's power is provided by coal, which is mostly supplied by domestic mines. However, the industry's poor safety record has recently led to authorities closing several mines after a string of fatal accidents. As a result, China has been relying on imports of coal from countries such as Australia.

The planned targets and incentives for renewable energy are the latest in a series of measures from the Chinese government designed to bolster its environmental record ahead of international climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year.

A great deal of new legislation has been introduced in recent months, such as bans on plastic bags and tighter standards governing air pollution, while the government has also implemented a nationwide energy-efficiency push designed to improve energy intensity by 20 per cent.

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