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Getting rid of the fossils

China's total energy consumption, measured in tons of coal, was 3.62 billion metric tons in 2012, rising from 1.7 billion tons in 2003. Meanwhile, non-fossil energy accounted for 9.6 percent of total primary energy consumption and will grow to 15 percent by 2020, according to the National Energy Administration.

On Aug 26, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress examined a report on the enforcement of the renewable energy law, which revealed that by the end of 2012, China's installed hydropower capacity had reached 249 million kilowatts, while wind power was almost 63 million kw and solar power was 6.5 million kw. The annual biomass consumption for energy production was equal to 30 million tons of coal.

The installed capacity of renewable energy accounted for 28 percent of the national total by the end of 2012, rising 5 percentage points from 2005, and the amount of power generated by renewable energy contributed about 20 percent of gross national electricity generation.

Renewable energy has become a new engine for China's economic growth and in 2012, generating facilities attracted investment totaling 400 billion yuan ($65.36 billion), according to the report, which said the use of renewable energy has improved the environment and the quality of life for the public.

One example it gave was that more than 15 billion cubic meters of methane gas was produced nationwide in 2012, with a power generation capacity equivalent to more than 25 million tons of coal, which reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 60 million tons.

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