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China:Wind Power Dilemma: Money Blows Away

Rapid, government-subsidized expansion of China’s wind power industry has led to excess capacity and investment waste.

(Caijing Magazine) A cold front swept across northern China’s Inner Mongolia region in early November, forcing a wind energy farm at Xilin Gol to curtail operations – even as a brisk breeze whistled through idle turbine blades.

“When that much wind is moving through, the generators can’t make electricity,” explained Ma Zhanxiang, vice president of the Inner Mongolia Electric Power Industry Association (EPIA). “Money just blows by.”

The turbines were forced to shut down not because the Mongolian wind was too strong, or for mechanical reasons, but because the system for distributing power from Xilin Gol and other wind farms built in recent years in northern China is simply too weak.

When cold weather arrives, wind farms have to compete for transmission space on a power distribution grid buzzing with electricity generated by the region’s coal-fired thermal heating plants, which fire up in winter to supply heating for local residents as well as electricity.

According to EPIA, Inner Mongolia’s installed wind power capacity approaches 3.5 gigawatts, and currently nearly one-third of that is sitting idle. The remaining two-thirds capacity is supplied by turbines that run erratically, shutting off and on according to demand.

“Wind power is too concentrated” in certain regions of China including Inner Mongolia, Ma said. “When there is wind, wind power plants need to generate electricity. But power grids get overwhelmed.” And that wastes money. Nationwide, some 5 million gigawatts of wind power generating capacity never made it to the grid during the first half of 2009. Since wind farm construction costs some 10,000 yuan per kilowatt, the total idle investment is worth about 50 billion yuan.

“The winter wind blows hard, but things aren’t easy for wind power,” Ma told Caijing.

Outside Inner Mongolia, wind power capacity is unevenly spread across sections of Gansu Province in the northwest, Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in the northeast, and coastal areas such as Jiangsu Province.

With the exception of Jiangsu wind farms, most of the nation’s wind energy operators concentrate power generation at a grid terminus or in areas with high concentrations of thermal plant capacity. And factors such as local market demand, power grid links, wind farm expansions and capacity peaks contribute to the fact that equivalent full load hours (EFLH) are relatively rare for wind farms. An EFLH is equal to an annual power load divided by installed capacity.

Various experts have started weighing in with suggestions for reducing overcapacity and streamlining wind energy in China, which is government subsidized. For example, State Council researchers recently called for a “systematic” approach to promoting healthy development of the industry.

“Overcapacity in areas of high wind power concentration cannot be ignored,” a China Electricity Council (CEC) expert told Caijing.

Idle Power

Production restrictions at wind farms have become all too common. In the first half of the year, for example, nearly 150 million kilowatt hours of generated power went unused in the Guazhou and Yumen areas of Gansu because the grid could not absorb the power they produced. This represented 27 percent of Guazhou’s and 33 percent Yumen’s actual wind power production.

To better understand problems with power capacity loss and grid restrictions, a joint study was launched in June by the Society of Electrical Engineering’s Wind Power Committee and Tidal Power Committee. Investigators found power restrictions affecting 48 wind farms operated by the country’s seven largest wind power developers, which supply 50 percent of the nation’s wind power.

Installed capacity at affected wind farms totaled 4.4 million kw at the end of 2008, or more than 70 percent of the 6 million kw installed capacity at all plants operated by the seven companies. Grid restrictions cost 370 million kwh in lost power in 2008, which is an amount equal to 103 EFLHs.

Since these seven largest wind power developers supply 50 percent of the nation’s wind-generated electricity, grid restrictions could mean wind power losses in 2008 were as high as 740 million kwh nationwide, or close to 6 percent of the national wind power generating capacity of 12.8 billion kw. In the first five months of 2009, losses were about 620 million kwh – an EFLH of 140 hours, or more than 200 hours on an annual basis. As a result, electricity use restrictions through 2009 were expected to be even more pronounced, and could result in losses of more than 2 billion kwh for the full year.

National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) data illustrates the seriousness of idle wind power capacity. From January to September 2009, NDRC said, wind farms with generating capacity of at least 6 megawatts produced 18.2 billion kwh of electricity nationwide – up 117 percent over the same period 2008. But that was only about 0.45 percent of all the electricity churned out by China’s major power plants, and was significantly less than wind power’s proportion of total installed capacity, which is 1.15 percent.

SOE Factor

Why is China suffering from imbalanced wind power capacity? Some point a finger at the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that build and operate wind farms.

“Most wind power projects are owned by SOEs, while wind power equipment makers are mostly private and foreign-funded enterprises,” a CEC expert told Caijing. “This is an interesting phenomenon, and to a certain extent reflects the problems of wind power.”

CEC research said nearly all of China’s wind power producers are state-owned. In the seven provinces with major wind power development projects, central SOEs comprise 73 percent of the 92 wind power companies and control 81 percent of total installed capacity.

China began large-scale wind farm construction in 2005, and this year NDRC began arranging bids for wind power concessions. So far, bids have been completed for 15 projects, with each slated to provide more than 10 gigawatts.

Wind power is considered a crucial path for power industry SOEs seeking to expand installed capacity. And it’s a path encouraged by the government. For example, a worker at state-owned China Power Investment Corp. (CPI) told Caijing the government plans to more strictly control additional, large-scale thermal energy projects over the next two years. And the government has refused to approve any new major hydropower projects for the past two years.

“State-owned power generation companies are now striving to expand installed capacity through wind power,” the CPI worker said.

Moreover, wind power is the biggest recipient of 4.5 billion yuan in renewable energy subsidies that the government finances by adding an extra 0.002 yuan charge to each kilowatt of electricity sold nationwide.

The National Energy Board announced plans early this year to raise the wind power generation goal to 20 million kw next year and 100 million kw by 2020. The board also ordered the construction of wind power bases exceeding 10 megawatts in Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Hebei Provinces within 10 years in accord with a government policy calls “build large bases, integrate with the grid.”

Meanwhile, turbine manufacturers are seizing opportunities by bumping up production capacity. According to statistics from Li Junfeng, deputy director of NDRC’s Energy Office, China today has more than 70 wind power equipment manufacturers, up from six in 2004. Installed capacity has also grown 25-fold, from 468,000 kilowatts in 2002 to 1.2 gigawatts at the end of 2008.

Too Much

But all that capacity is not necessarily indicative of a healthy industry. A glut of built turbine manufacturing plants and wind farms means too much wind power capacity for the demands of the grid.

Inner Mongolia’s situation is a clear example. Its installed capacity – 50 gigawatts — is the country’s largest, but the excess at wind farms has reached a crisis level. EPIA counts some 10 gigawatts in the region, including 3.49 gigawatts of wind power, as excess installed capacity.

Nevertheless, more power is on the way in Inner Mongolia: Projects representing hundreds of thousands of kilowatts in additional capacity are currently under construction.

Thermal power units provide much of the electricity that powers Inner Mongolia, raising unique challenges for its wind farms. For example, power grid scheduling is difficult, since the regional grid lacks the hydropower and natural gas power plants that help grid operators adjust power feeds when necessary to counteract the relative instability of wind power supplies. Rather, according to a wind power plant staffer in the region, grids can only rely on thermal power.

Additionally, field operations of wind power technology are not as simple as they look. Even China’s leading wind generator enterprise Goldwind (SZSE: 002202) cannot guarantee, from a technical perspective, that its turbines can operate in all weather.

New Ideas

China’s fast-growing renewable energy industry experienced a “policy braking” in August, when a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao concluded the industry “tended toward excess” and needed a little cold water. A few days later, the 2009 List of Encouraged Imported Technologies and Technology Products was released by NDRC along with the ministries of commerce and finance. It removed import subsidies for polysilicon and wind turbines exceeding 2 megawatts.

On the sidelines of a recent hydropower development forum, National Energy Secretary and NDRC Vice Chairman Zhang Guobao was asked by Caijing to express his views on overcapacity in the alternative energy industry. Zhang evaded the question but said, “The State Council already has policies aimed at the overcapacity issue.”

At a State Council Information Office press conference in late September, Zhang said excess capacity was restricted to wind power equipment and did not extend to the wind power generation industry. “No one is sending out the message that China has too much wind power and needs to cut back,” he said.

Although a large amount of wind power never makes it to the grid, many local governments and enterprises are pushing ahead with zealous wind energy plans while SOEs turn to wind power for expanding installed capacity.

The government’s subsidies for alternative energy make this “equivalent to the state footing the bill for local governments and enterprises” to develop wind projects, said Fan Bi, deputy director of the Research Office of the State Council. Therefore, he said, existing subsidies and financial resources are relatively adequate for wind power development.

Fan has suggested China seek new ways to develop wind power. For starters, he thinks subsidy transparency should be improved, with monetary sources clarified, to prevent blind development. Second, concession bidding should be continued to distribute subsidies effectively and reduce on-grid wind power prices through competition. Eventually, the state could reduce subsidies and support for wind power.

The report also recommended China strengthen its wind power development plan, determine a reasonable scale for the industry, and reform the government approval process for wind power projects.

But other experts say wind power adjustments cannot be separated from China’s power industry reform, which is ongoing.

“There is still a fundamental need to deepen power industry reform,” an expert at the State Council Research Office told Caijing. “First, a separate pilot for transmission and distribution should be implemented, and work should be done on allowing grid companies to independently set prices, moving management of distribution network assets to the provincial level.

“In this way,” the expert said, “systematic reforms can be used to eliminate wind power overcapacity.”

Source: Cajing, 12.11.2009 By staff reporter Li Qiyan

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Chinese group buys voluntary Carbon Credits

An automobile insurer from Shanghai has become the first Chinese company to become carbon neutral by purchasing credits in China’s fledgling voluntary carbon trading market.

Tianping Auto Insurance paid Rmb277,699 ($40,627) on Wednesday for 8,026 tons of carbon credits accumulated by commuters during last year’s Beijing Olympics. They were auctioned through the Beijing Environment Exchange.

The deal signals the growing potential for carbon trading in China, which is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases but so far does not have a domestic carbon market.

As in Europe and the US, trading in voluntary emission reductions is only one of many segments of the carbon market.

China has become the largest supplier to foreign investors of carbon credits from projects that have been certified to reduce carbon emissions under the clean development mechanism since 2007.

As a developing country, China is not required to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol, so there is no domestic demand for mandatory carbon credits.

However, Beijing, as it prepares for the Copenhagen meeting in December, which is due to decide on a successor to Kyoto, is considering introducing some commitment to limiting emissions.

In June, the state council, China’s cabinet, said it would introduce targets for lower carbon emission intensity to its economic and social planning. The statement was widely seen as a hint that the next five year plan, covering 2011-15, will include a carbon intensity target.

That would trigger growth in voluntary carbon trading, climate change experts said.

“Responding to climate change is a task in which the whole society needs to be encouraged to participate, and using market mechanisms is one way of doing that,” said an official at the climate change department of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s climate change policymaker.

Source: Financial Times, 06.08.2009 By Kathrin Hille in Beijing

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Go with wind: China to dramatically boost its wind power capacity, again

China keeps revising its renewable energy target for 2020–so frequently and dramatically that just when you feel you finally managed to track all the target numbers and to put them on paper, the numbers become history. China first announced its 2020 target for renewable energy in 2007, and then revised the numbers in May 2009. With the stimulus package injected into renewable energy investment, China is now reported to be revising the 2020 target plan again, which is even more ambitious (as shown below). It should be noted that China interchangeably uses the terms “alternative energy” and “renewable energy”; its portfolio includes large amounts of hydropower and nuclear power.

. Installed Capacity by the end of 2008 The 2020 Target set in 2007 The 2020 Target revised in May 2009 Proposed plan to revise the 2020 Target
Wind 12.17 gW 30 gW 100 gW 150 gW
Solar 140 mW 1.8 gW 10 gW+ 20 gW
Nuclear 9.1 gW 40 gW 60~75 gW 86 gW
Total power supply 793 gW 1000 gW 1400~1500 gW

In the newly proposed 2020 renewable energy plan, wind power would become dominant, accounting for 10 percent of the total power supply and increasing from an initial 30 gigawatts (gW), which was less than nuclear power (40 gW), to 150 gW. This would be double the nuclear power target of 86 gW. Solar energy capacity would also be significantly increased, from the original 1.8 gW, to 20 gW, 142 times the installed capacity at the end of 2008.

To show it’s not just a numbers game with the renewable energy target, a couple of weeks ago, China began construction on its first 10 gW wind power station in Jiuquan, Gansu province. The installed capacity will be increased to 20 gW by 2020 and eventually reach 40 gW, which would almost double the installed capacity of the gigantic Three Gorges Dam-the world’s largest hydro-electric power station, with a potential total installed capacity at 22.4 gW. Gansu is now boasting “Three Gorges of Wind Farms,” with a total investment predicted to be more than 120 billion yuan ($17.6 billion); the newly estimated total investment in Three Gorges Dam is about 180 billion yuan.

Of the 150 gW target by 2020, 30 gW will come from offshore wind farms. The largest offshore wind power project so far is the Donghai Bridge Wind Farm in Shanghai–the most fascinating wind farm, in my opinion. The Donghai Bridge is about 32.5 kilometers long, the longest in China. Wind turbines are being installed on both sides of the bridge. The total installed power capacity will reach 100 mW.

A Chinese research team has re-evaluated China’s potential wind power resources and significantly increased its onshore wind power potential to 700~1,200 gW from the original forecast of 280 gW, which means wind power resources alone can meet the entire country’s electricity demands. Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Inner Mongolia both boast more than 100 gW of wind energy resources. But there remains one big issue, similar to the one confronted by coal and natural gas industries: all the wind power resource–rich areas are thousands of kilometers away from high electricity demand areas. High voltage power lines are needed. In an effort to build a so-called Strong Smart Grid, China invested more in grids than in power generation last year.

China’s total power capacity will be more than 900 gW in 2009, and will soon be close to what the U.S. has now–1,000 gW.

Source: Greenlaw, 29.07.2009

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The State of the Environment of China in 2008

In 2008, China’s environmental protection system achieved great success in response to environmental emergency accidents caused by unprecedented natural disasters and in delivering satisfied environmental quality during the Beijing Olympics under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Positive progress was made in such aspects as pollution reduction, construction of environmental infrastructures, pollution control of major river basins, capacity building, environmental economic policies and the three major strategic programs, marking a solid foundation for historic transformation of environmental protection.

Read official summary report by Ministy of Environmental Protection PRC in English

Inserted comments by  Charlie McElwee of China Environmental Law Blog

First, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have made important arrangements for environmental protection under the new circumstances. At the mobilization meeting on intensive study of Scientific Outlook on Development and a training session for provincial and ministerial-level officials, Secretary General Hu Jintao made a speech and recognized, for the first time, ecological civilization as a major constituent of the master plan for the great undertaking of building a socialist society with Chinese characteristics. Ecological civilization was elevated to a strategic position matched by economic, political, cultural and social development, charting a course for environmental protection work in the new era. Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Li Keqiang also highlighted on many occasions that we should spare no efforts in pollution reduction and ecological conservation, combine expansion of domestic consumption with the effort to improve people’s well being and ecological environment so as to promote balanced and sustainable development. The first meeting of the 11th National People’s Congress approved the establishment of Ministry of Environmental Protection with the aim of reinforcing its functions ranging from coordination, macro control, to supervision of law enforcement and public service, hence providing stronger institutional guarantee for advancing historic transformation of environmental protection.

Second, the environmental impact assessment system has played an important role in macro control. We have been active in addressing the international financial crisis by making prompt adjustment in environmental impact assessment, improving the approval mechanism, simplifying procedures, honoring seven commitments, opening up a green channel to qualified projects while exercising strict control over energy and resource-intensive and heavy pollution projects. In 2008, MEP denied or suspended 156 such projects and of the 579 projects given instructions, pollution reduction measures helped to cut down 468,600 tons of SO2 and 38,400 tons of COD annually.

Second, the environmental impact assessment system has played an important role in macro control. [Not sure I would have placed this item quite so high given concerns about lax review of stimulus projects and the Jinsha River dam debacle]

  • 156 projects were denied or suspended.
  • Pollution reduction measures helped to cut down 468,600 tons of SO2 and 38,400 tons of COD annually.

Third, a breakthrough has been made in pollution reduction. The country newly added urban sewage treatment capacity by 11.49 million tons/day and 97.12 GW installed capacity with desulphurization facilities and shut down small thermal power plants with a capacity of 16.69 GW. Total discharge of COD and SO2 dropped by 4.42% and 5.95% respectively compared with that of 2007, a decrease of 6.61% and 8.95% respectively against that of 2005. For the first time the progress of our pollution reduction work was in keep with the timetable, laying a sound groundwork for achieving the target of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period.

Third, a breakthrough has been made in pollution reduction.

  • Urban sewage treatment capacity was increased by 11.49 million tons/day.
  • 97.12 GW of installed electric generation capacity was installed with desulphurization facilities.
  • 16.69 GW small thermal power plant capacity was shut down.
  • COD discharges dropped by 4.42% compared with 2007, and 6.61% against 2005 levels.
  • SO2 emissions dropped by 5.95% compared with 2007, and 8.95% against 2005 levels.

Fourth, we have accomplished emergency response to severe natural disasters and guaranteed environmental quality for Beijing Olympics. Environmental emergency response was launched to cope with the snowstorm in South China and the unprecedented earthquake in Wenchuan to ensure the safety of radiation environment and drinking water. Beijing cooperated with its neighboring five provinces (autonomous region and municipality) for full implementation of measures to guarantee air quality during the Olympic Games, honoring the earnest commitment to a Green Olympic Games and completing the task in success.

Fourth, accomplished emergency response to severe natural disasters and guaranteed environmental quality for Beijing Olympics.

Fifth, steady progress has been made in prevention and control of pollution in river basins. Seven plans on water pollution control for the Huaihe River, Haihe River and so on have been approved by the State Council and put into operation. Ecological safety assessment on Taihu Lake, Chaohu Lake and the Three Gorges Reservoir area was made accompanied by full-scale eco-safety monitoring work, which paved the way for integrated management of lakes. We have launched a baseline investigation on concentrated drinking water sources in counties across the country, inspecting 15,000 source areas and urging over 4,600 protection areas to carry out rectification measures. This move further safeguarded drinking water safety for the public.

Fifth, steady progress has been made in prevention and control of pollution in river basins.

Sixth, environmental protection work has been unfolded in rural areas. The State Council held the first national teleconference on environmental protection in rural areas and put forward a set of important policies, such as giving incentives to environmental improvement in the form of reward and replacing subsidy by reward. The Central Government also set up a special fund for rural environmental protection, allocating 500 million Yuan to support environmental redress and ecological demonstration in 700 villages. This program generated nearly 1 billion Yuan local investment, benefiting over 4 million farmers.

Sixth, environmental protection work has been unfolded in rural areas.

Seventh, intensified efforts have been made in supervision of law enforcement. We continued the special campaign to correct illegal polluting enterprises and safeguarding people’s health. Inspections were made on hidden environmental dangers as well as urban sewage treatment plants and landfill sites. With mounting effort on expost supervision, we supervised 16,000 plus cases put on the rectification blacklist nationwide since 2005 and more than 8,000 papermaking companies inspected in 2007 and shut down 621 paper mills violating national industrial policy and total discharge standard. This helped to consolidate what we have achieved in this regard.

We have strengthened routine review and supervision on the safety of nuclear power plants in service, tightened regulation and assessment of nuclear power plants under construction or to be built and stepped up management of radioactive sources to ensure the safety of nuclear and radiation environment.

Seventh, intensified efforts have been made in supervision of law enforcement.

  • 16,000 enterprises have been placed on the nationwide “rectification blacklist” since 2005.
  • More than 8,000 papermaking companies inspected in 2007 [sic] and 621 were shut down for violating national industrial policy and total discharge standards.

Eighth, new achievement has been made in environmental legislation, policy, technology, publicity and education and international cooperation. The revised Law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution was formally put into effect and environmental quality standard for noise was released for the first time together with emission standard for industrial enterprises and community noise. Active exploration was made on environmental economic policies such as green credit, green securities, green taxation and green insurance. Varied activities were organized for publicity and education on environmental protection and international environmental cooperation was developed in a more pragmatic manner.

Eighth, new achievement has been made in environmental legislation, policy, technology, publicity and education and international cooperation.

Ninth, we have further built up our capacity. The Central Government invested 34 billion Yuan for environmental protection, an increase of more than 10 billion Yuan compared to that of 2007. With the implementation of the three major programs for pollution reduction, we will build 363 monitoring centers on pollution sources, 36 automatic water quality monitoring stations and add 3,900 cars for law enforcement, creating an information transmission system linking national, provincial, municipal and county network and three data analysis platforms. The satellite for monitoring environment and disaster was launched successfully.

Ninth, further built up capacity.

  • The central government invested 34 billion Yuan for environmental protection, an increase of more than 10 billion Yuan compared to that of 2007.

Tenth, the three strategic programs are proceeding smoothly. General investigation of pollution sources entered the final stage for summary and release after completing such basic work as filling out forms, data input, quality control, data reporting and collection, examination and modification. Macro strategic study of China’s environment was basically completed and the major technological program on control and treatment of water body pollution was started on a full scale.

Tenth, the three strategic programs are proceeding smoothly. [What the “three strategic programs” are, however, is hard to figure out from the description provided].

Thanks to down-to-earth and effective work, the year 2008 saw obvious changes in some environmental quality indicators. The annual average concentration of permanganate index of surface water was 5.7 mg/L, down by 12.3 percentage points than last year and 20.8 percentage points than in 2005. It was the first time for this index to have ever reached national Grade III standard. The annual average concentration of SO2 in urban areas was 0.048 mg/m3, down by 7.7 percentage points than last year and 15.8 percentage points than that of 2005. It met Grade II national standard for ambient air quality. However, China was still confronted with serious environmental situation and the general environmental conditions were as follows:

First of all, surface water pollution remained very serious. The general water quality of the seven major waters including the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, Songhua River, Huaihe River, Haihe River and Liaohe River were about the same as in last year. 55.0% of 409 sections in 200 rivers had water quality at Grade I~III national standards, 24.2% of them at Grade IV~V standards, and 20.8% worse than Grade V standard. The Pearl River and Yangtze River enjoyed good water quality, Songhua River was slightly polluted, Yellow River, Huaihe River and Liaohe River suffered from moderate pollution, and Haihe River was badly polluted. 46.2% of the 26 lakes (reservoirs) under national monitoring programs on their nutrition state suffered from eutrophication.

First, surface water pollution remained very serious.

  • The general water quality of the seven major waters including the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, Songhua River, Huaihe River, Haihe River and Liaohe River were about the same as last year.
  • 20.8% of 409 sections in 200 rivers were graded worse than Grade V standard [presumably this means you could walk across the water segment].
  • 46.2% of the 26 lakes (reservoirs) under national monitoring programs on their nutrition state suffered from eutrophication.

Second, the coastal areas nationwide were slightly polluted. 70.4% of coastal seawater had water quality at national Grade I and II standards, up 7.6 percentage points than last year; 11.3% of the seawater met Grade III national standard, about the same as last year; and 18.3% ranked at Grade IV national standard or worse, down 7.1 percentage points. Of the coastal areas of the major four seas, the Yellow Sea and South China Sea enjoyed good water quality, the Bohai Sea had common water quality and East China Sea had poor water quality. The proportion of seawater at Grade I and II national standards increased by more than 10% in the Bohai Bay, Yangtze River estuary, Pearl River estuary and Beibu Bay compared with that of last year.

Second, the coastal areas nationwide were slightly polluted.

Third, some cities had good air quality better than last year, but other cities still suffered from serious pollution. The acid rain distributed in about the same areas, but the pollution it caused was still grave. 519 cities across the country reported air quality data in 2008. 21 of them reached national Grade I standard for air quality, accounting for 4.0%; 378 ones was up to national Grade II standard, accounting for 72.8%; 113 cities hit Grade III standard, taking up 21.8%; and 7 failed to meet Grade III standard, accounting for 1.4%. 71.6% of the country’s cities at or above prefecture level had qualified water quality, and 85.6% of county-level cities managed to do so.

The air quality in 113 major cities on environmental protection turned better. 57.5% of them had air quality up to Grade II national standard, 41.6% up to Grade III standard, and 0.9% had air quality worse than Grade III standard. 13.3% more cities had air quality up to standard compared with last year, and the proportion of cities failing to reach Grade III standard did not change.

Third, some cities had good air quality better than last year, but other cities still suffered from serious pollution.

  • 519 cities across the country reported air quality data in 2008. 21 of them reached national Grade I standard for air quality, accounting for 4.0%; 378 ones was up to national Grade II standard, accounting for 72.8%; 113 cities hit Grade III standard, taking up 21.8%; and 7 failed to meet Grade III standard, accounting for 1.4%. 71.6% of the country’s cities at or above prefecture level had qualified water quality, and 85.6% of county-level cities managed to do so.

Fourth, 71.7% of the country’s cities enjoyed good or relatively good regional acoustic environment, and 75.2% of the 113 major cities on environmental protection managed to do so. 65.3% of the cities across the country had good road acoustic environment, and 93.8% of the 113 major cities on environmental protection enjoyed good or relatively good road acoustic environment. 86.4% of the function zones in all cities met standard for acoustic environment at day, and 74.7% of them met standard at night.

Fourth, 71.7% of the country’s cities enjoyed good or relatively good regional acoustic environment, and 75.2% of the 113 major cities on environmental protection managed to do so.

Fifth, the radiation environmental quality across the country was good at large. The ionizing radiation level remained stable, and the radiation near nuclear facilities and equipment was within the normal range. The electromagnetic radiation level was also good. The comprehensive field strengthen in parts of several high-power radiators exceeded the national standards, but the radiation levels near other electromagnetic radiators were up to national standards.

Fifth, the radiation environmental quality across the country was good at large. [“Good at large” does not provide me with the level of comfort I’m looking for when it comes to radiation]

Sixth, some progress was made in ecological construction. By the end of 2008, 2,538 nature reserves of all kinds at all levels had been established across the country, covering a total area of 1.49 million km2. Among them there were 303 national-level nature reserves, accounting for 11.9% of the total. They covered 91.2 million ha, accounting for 61.2% of the total area. 28 nature reserves joined the “Man and the Biosphere” network of UNESCO, and 20-odd nature reserves became World Natural Heritage Sites.

Sixth, some progress was made in ecological construction.

Seventh, the environmental problems in rural areas were increasingly prominent, with aggravated household pollution, worsening non-point pollution, sharpening industrial and mine pollution, and hidden risk for drinking water safety. The pollution tended to transfer from urban areas to rural areas.

Seventh, the environmental problems in rural areas were increasingly prominent, with aggravated household pollution, worsening non-point pollution, sharpening industrial and mine pollution, and hidden risk for drinking water safety. The pollution tended to transfer from urban areas to rural areas.

Source: Ministry of Environmental Protection of PRC,  o5.06.2009

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