China Congress Pushes Gas, Renewable Energy Plans: Chart of Day

China, the world’s biggest polluter, said it would accelerate its use of renewable energy and cleaner-burning fuels including natural gas over the next five years to cut pollution and reduce reliance on coal, which generates about 80 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows China aims to double gas’s share of energy consumption to 8 percent by 2015 while boosting the combined proportion of wind, solar, hydro and nuclear to 11 percent from 8 percent, according to National Energy Administration data. China plans to start building 40 gigawatts of atomic reactors by 2015, more than three times of last year’s capacity, documents released at the National People’s Congress this week show. The country will also begin construction of 120 gigawatts of hydropower by then.

“Hydro, wind, nuclear and gas will continue to grow at double-digit rates relative to fossil fuels, which will decline as a percentage of the energy mix,” Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said in a note.

China won’t “blindly” pursue economic growth that’s unsustainable, Premier Wen Jiabao said last month, noting that the world’s largest coal user would slash carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as 17 percent per unit of gross domestic product from 2011 to 2015. according to Xinhua News Agency. Russia, Turkmenistan and Australia are offering to supply more gas.

Turkmenistan plans to boost pipeline shipments to China by 50 percent, even as a supply deal with Russia is delayed over pricing issues, according to OAO Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer. Australia was China’s biggest source of liquefied natural gas last year, with Chinese importers paying an average $191 a metric ton for Australian term-contracts compared with an average $323 for all imports, customs data show.

The share of oil in China’s energy mix may remain at 2010 levels as the country depends less on fossil fuels while getting increased crude supplies from overseas fields that state-controlled companies including PetroChina Co. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. have stakes in. Last year, Chinese companies bid for a record $39.6 billion of energy assets abroad to enlarge reserves, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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