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Expert: Chinese economy could expand in cost-effective manner


Although China had a series of infrastructure programs kick off this year, the economy could still expand in a cost-effective manner, Steven Kline, vice president of U.S. leading utility firm PG& E Corp., told Xinhua Sunday.

In November, the Chinese government presented a 4-trillion yuan (585 billion U.S. dollars) economic stimulus package to be spent over the next two years. It included infrastructure investment to support the economy.

"The economy could grow in a balanced way," Kline said, adding that energy efficiency was also a resource.

"A kilowatt-hour saved from energy efficiency does just as much work as a kilowatt-hour from a power plant. But a kilowatt-hour from energy efficiency does not produce any greenhouse gases, and does not require the construction of a power plant or transmission lines," Kline said.

His company took an active part in the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance, a non-profit organization aimed at fighting global climate change by promoting energy efficiency as the cleanest and least expensive energy resource in China.

Promoting energy efficiency was set as the sixth goal during the fifth round of China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue held in December in Beijing.

The current energy efficiency level in China was around 33 percent, about 10 percent lower compared with that of developed countries, said Chen Shihai, an official with China''s National Energy Administration.

"There was big room for China to improve its energy efficiency and energy saving in the near future," Chen added.

The Chinese government has set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit GDP by 20 percent in the five-year period from 2006 to 2010.

Energy efficiency could bring us resource, environmental and economic benefits, according to Dian Grueneich, California Public Utilities Commissioner.

"Energy efficiency was the best way to meet energy and environmental goals, while China and U.S. could work together in policy support, information exchange, and sharing best practices," said Jon Wellinghoff, acting chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

John Chu, a senior energy industry analyst, told Xinhua on Sunday that China''s stimulus package was a reasonable solution amid the global economic recession and it was not contradictory to the country''s set goal of improving energy efficiency.

"The government stresses economic restructuring in the implementation of the stimulus plans and does not encourage those high-energy consuming industries to expand," said Chu, information director of Shanghai-based C1 Energy Co., Ltd., a leading industry information provider.

On the other hand, it seemed that road, railway and other infrastructure projects would consume energy and money, but it did not mean they were not energy effective.

"China could make efforts to improve its energy efficiency through restructuring, technology progress and improving management. At the same time it could keep a relatively fast economic growth pace," Chen said.