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Shanghai Launches Clean Electricity Scheme

File photo: An offshore wind farm.
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Mar 09, 2006
Shanghai residents can for the first time buy "clean power" after solar and wind-generated electricity was this week included in the Chinese city's power grid, the firm behind the project said Wednesday. The project by Shanghai Municipal Electricity Power company is aimed at cleaning up Shanghai's polluted environment, company spokesman Yu Qinde said.

Yu told AFP the plan had so far met with some support from the public with 460 households registering for the clean power, which went on-line on Tuesday.

It has proved less popular among companies, which had access to the clean power from January, with only 15 enterprises subscribing.

One of the reasons for low market penetration is the price.

The cost of one kilowatt hour is 1.14 yuan, or 0.53 yuan higher than electricity generated through more traditional methods such as coal fired power plants.

To qualify individual households also have to subscribe to a minimum of 120 kilowatts a year, while companies must sign for 6,000 kilowatts.

Although the scheme is in its infancy, Yu said the state-run company remained hopeful.

Shanghai, home to 17 million residents and 3,000 skyscrapers, needs 70 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually, but currently only receives about 2000-3000 kilowatts hours from natural methods.

"It's really a tiny share, but by the end of 2015 (wind) generation capacity will reach three billion kilowatt hours," said Yu.

Source: Agence France-Presse

related report

EU Calls For United Approach To Energy Sector Brussels (AFP) Mar 09 - The European Commission urged EU states Wednesday to hammer out a more unified approach to energy policy in Europe as concern about protectionism and supplies loom over the sector.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned that the European Union faced huge challenges ranging from record prices to supply security and could not afford a narrow national approach.

"What's important is to move from a national strategic approach of the 25 mini-markets in energy to a European strategic plan," Barroso told journalists.

"And that is the challenge we are putting to member states: are you or are not ready to move from this limited strategic approach to a pan-European approach?"

Against a backdrop of soaring energy prices, EU leaders called on the commission last October to look into ways of better coordinating energy policy among the bloc's 25 members.

The issue took on new urgency at the beginning of the year when gas supplies to some EU countries were crimped as the EU got caught in the crossfire of a price war between Russia and Ukraine.

The fragmentation of EU energy markets was further highlighted in a recent wave of energy sector takeovers, which sparked claims that some member states were trying to protect domestic firms even though the Europe is preparing for full liberalisation of the EU market by July next year.

Spain is considering changing laws in a way that could make it more difficult for German energy giant E.ON to takeover Spanish group Endesa, while the French government hastily announced the merger of state-controlled Gaz de France with Suez in a move that Italy claims was aimed at thwarting a bid by Italian group's Enel for Suez.

But Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stressed that if Europe were to rise to the challenges facing the sector then member states must learn to plan and take actions together.

"In the European Union, we definitely have to understand that decisions in one member state in the energy sector have an influence in another member state and action of the Union is much stronger compared to individual action, said Outlining a roadmap to guide Europe towards closer coordination, Barroso insisted that open and competitive energy markets were essential.

The commission's anti-trust services are currently looking into possible action by companies aimed at preventing competition in the sector but Barroso declined to comment on which firms had been targeted, promising "rigour and objectivity" in the probes.

Another top priority was to ensure stable supplies and Barroso said that he aimed to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week "to engage constructively with our Russian partners" on energy. Up to a quarter of the natural gas needs of Europe -- the world's second largest energy market -- come from Russia, and the commission fears Europe could become increasingly reliant on imports.

The commission also stressed that Europe needed to invest more in environmentally friendly sources of energy in order to curb its greenhouse gas emissions and Barroso said that the best way to ensure secure, low-carbon sources of energy would be to set an overall objective.

"Personally, I'm aiming for over half the European Union's energy being from secure and low carbon sources in 20 years," he said.

However, environmentalists quickly responded with criticism that the European Commission's proposals did not go far enough.

"Although it declares good intentions on renewable energy and efficiency, it stops short of placing them at the heart of Europe's energy mix," said Greenpeace's EU policy expert Mahi Sideridou.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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