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China sets slower energy consumption targets

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BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government is aiming to slow energy consumption in the years to come in order to create a greener economy, according to a central government energy plan issued on Thursday.

Total energy consumption will be reduced to less than 4 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2015, according to an energy plan for the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).

Annual energy consumption growth will be set at 4.3 percent for the period, slowing from the 6.6-percent annual growth realized between 2006 and 2010, the plan says.

The government is also aiming to increase energy consumption efficiency, trying to cut the amount of energy consumed for every 10,000 yuan (1,592 U.S. dollars) of GDP from 0.81 tonnes of standard coal equivalent in 2010 to 0.68 tonnes, down 16 percent, by 2015.

The plan says construction will be quickened for five major energy production centers located in multiple regions and provinces.

The government has set a goal of boosting the energy output of the five centers to 2.66 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2015, or 70 percent of China's total energy output.

The government will also work to reduce PM2.5, or airborne particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter, that are generated by energy exploitation, as well as change deserted coal mines into farms.

To secure equitable access to energy, the government will upgrade electricity grids in rural areas and lower power prices for farmers so that they are equivalent to urban prices.

The central government will create energy control requirements for province-level governments and hold them accountable for fulfilling the requirements.

Lin Boqiang, an energy expert at Xiamen University, said capped energy consumption will impede GDP growth, adding that guiding local governments to readily meet the energy consumption control targets is a key issue.

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