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China is to start seeking more overseas co-operation in developing energy sources including wind power. Speaking at an energy conference in Beijing in early December, the vice-minister of the State Planning Commission (SPC), She Jianming, said China will actively seek and use loans from international financial institutions, foreign governments, export credits and commercial credits, while attracting direct overseas investment via joint ventures and project finance.

She made the comments at "Energy Efficiency Improvements: Coal and Renewables," a seminar co-sponsored by the SPC, the Environment and Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress and the International Energy Agency (IEA). He pinpointed coal, nuclear and oil as likely for Sino-overseas co-operation, but also included wind, solar and other renewable sources.

The two-day seminar was attended by about 200 Chinese and overseas officials and specialists. The IEA established normal relations with the SPC at the start of 1996. The seminar was their first joint action and came about a month after another top Chinese official had highlighted the Chinese government's actions to cut polluting gases. Deng Nan, vice-minister of the State Science and Technology Commission, said China has made effective efforts to reduce the discharge rate while maintaining economic development. Furthermore, the Chinese government in the autumn had underscored its need for energy resources and renewables in a new plan entitled "1996-2010 Outline of the Development of New and Renewable Sources of Energy."

A few weeks earlier renewables had also been characterised as a priority in "China's Agenda 21," according to news which came out of the world solar summit in Zimbabwe in August. News also emerged at the summit of China's ability to now mass produce mini wind chargers of less than 200 watts. Wind chargers from 1-20 kW are being produced in small batches and research is under way on wind turbines from 50-200 kW, officials told Harare delegates.

China, the world's second-largest energy producer, is expected to produce more than 1.4 billion tons of coal, 155 million-165 million tons of crude oil, 25 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 1130 billion kWh of electricity by the year 2000.

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