U.S. Presses China to Invest in Cleaner Energy
- U.S. Presses China to Invest in Cleaner Energy
By Stephanie Hoo
A U.S. energy official was in Beijing on Wednesday seeking Chinese
investment to build the first zero-emissions coal-fired power plant.
The U.S. government research project, called FutureGen, would turn coal
into gas before burning it and then trap pollutants so they aren't
released into the atmosphere. "I invite China to be among the first to
join FutureGen," said Mark Maddox, deputy assistant secretary of energy,
in a text of remarks he made to Chinese officials.
A FutureGen plant would cost US$950 million (euro740 million) to build,
with the U.S. inviting foreign partners to buy in for US$80 million
Pollution control hasn't been enough of a priority for China, though, as
it tries to produce as much energy as possible as cheaply as it can, said
a senior U.S. official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.
"There seems to be some begrudging understanding that they need to do it
cleaner, but they are trying to do it on a very tight budget," the
The price tag for building the most advanced, cleanest plant is as much
as three times as much as for an old-fashioned coal-burning plant. But,
the U.S. is working to convince China that better technology, while
expensive, can raise efficiency, reduce pollutants and improve safety,
the official said.
Apart from raising concerns about environmental damage, China's surging
energy needs are also putting the country into competition with the
United States for coal and oil supplies, he said. "They are putting such
a premium on security of energy supplies that they are probably driving
prices unnecessarily," the official said.
China's crude oil imports soared 35 percent last year to 840 million
barrels, helping push world prices to their current highs. "Their policy
seems to be at this point: energy at any cost," he said.
Source: Associated Press, 6 April 2005