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China drafts law to promote green energy

BEIJING, Oct 21 (Reuters) - China, plagued by a persistent energy shortage, is drafting a law requiring power companies to buy electricity generated by green energy sources, the China Daily said on Thursday.

The law, which would require all users to bear the cost of renewable energy, was expected to be passed before May 2005, Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Association, told the newspaper.

"We believe this law can start a renewable energy revolution in China," he was quoted as saying.

China has been slow to develop renewable energy sources because they are more expensive than traditional sources such as coal.

Li was quoted as saying China's goal was to increase its renewable energy generating capacity to 60 gigawatts by 2010, or about 10 percent of total power capacity. That will rise to 121 gigawatts by 2020, or about 12 percent of the total, he said.

Renewable energy accounts for just five to six percent of China's total power capacity, he was quoted as saying.

Li was quoted as saying China was relying too much on coal, which account for 67.1 percent of total consumption. China has the biggest and most dangerous coal mining industry in the world, responsible for thousands of deaths every year.

In the latest disaster, a coal mine gas explosion in the central Chinese province of Henan killed at least 56 workers on Wednesday, with 100 others missing.

China has fumbled for ways to bring the death toll from mining accidents under control, vowing to close small-scale unsafe, illegal mines and raising safety standards.

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