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China Plans 13 Solar Power Plants in Western Region

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest energy user, plans to develop 13 solar power projects in the western region as part of a government aim to cut emissions and boost energy investment in the area.

The government is tendering for bids to develop the projects in six provinces, which will have a combined capacity of 280 megawatts, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top planner, said in a statement on its website yesterday. One megawatt can power about 800 U.S. homes.

This is the second tender since the country opened bids to build a 10-megawatt solar power plant in Dunhuang in Gansu province last year. China wants the western region to become a base for energy production and processing of natural resources and aims to boost the share of non-fossil fuel in its primary energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020 to cut pollution.

The central government will invest in “key projects” in those areas to improve the economic well-being of the local people, President Wen Jiabao said in a statement yesterday, without identifying the provinces. Additional policies will also be implemented to support the development of the region, he said.

China aims to have an installed capacity of 20 gigawatts of solar units and 100 gigawatts of wind power by 2020, Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, said in May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Winnie Zhu in Shanghai at wzhu4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Clyde Russell at crussell7@bloomberg.net.

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