State body has recommended China allow the public to buy a portion of their electricity from renewable sources
BEIJING, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The Chinese government is considering a proposal that would boost residential green energy use, the latest move to cut air pollution and a dependence on coal-fired electric power, a state think tank which helped draft the plan said on Wednesday.
The Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) has recommended that China allow the general public to buy a portion of their electricity from renewable fuel sources, Peng Peng, a senior researcher at the agency, told Reuters on Wednesday.
China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, has pledged to cut its reliance on fossil fuels by setting quotas for the amount of renewable power including solar and wind that the state grid companies have to connect to the transmission system. (Full Story)
Under the plan, CREIA is recommending the government offer certificates that reward residential users who use more green power and install equipment like solar panels. The certificates could be sold for cash, similar to a scheme used by renewable power producers.
No date was set for a decision on the proposal. The National Energy Agency did not respond to requests for comment.
China keeps residential power prices below industrial and commercial ones and does not allow the public to choose the type of power they buy.
"Thermal power enjoys higher subsidies than renewables .... The launch of the trade in green certificates will direct investment away from thermal power plants," said Peng.
Up to 110 billion yuan ($16.47 billion) in subsidies were paid last year to China's power companies that installed equipment to remove pollutants, said the report.
But renewable energy projects started since August 2013 have not received national subsidies.
China has set provincial and regional renewable consumption targets but a lot of renewable power is still wasted. (Full Story)
In the first half of 2016, over 32 billion kilowatt hours of wind was not used, almost equivalent to the 2015 total, said the report.
An Ipsos MORI poll of 3,000 people in ten major Chinese cities on behalf of CREIA found that most respondents would buy more green power and even pay more for it.
Some 44 percent of those willing to pay more for green power would accept a monthly increase of 10-30 yuan, the survey found.
Though they are not directly comparable, CREIA said the results show support for green power is higher in China than abroad based on a 2015 poll of 60 countries.
($1 = 6.6778 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting By Kathy Chen and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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