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Green energy plan powers development of west China

09-21-2010 14:58 BJT

LANZHOU, Sept.21 (Xinhua) -- Dunhuang, an ancient desert city famous for the Buddhist art in the Mogao Grottoes, will also soon be known for its thousands of photovoltaic panels soaking up the blistering sunshine.

As part of China's western development strategy, Dunhuang, in the northwestern Gansu Province, is booming as a "green energy" city with a solar power industry in the desert.

Dunhuang has more and brighter sunlight than anywhere else in China.

By 2012, the installed solar photovoltaic generating capacity will reach 300,000 kilowatts (kW) and solar heat generation 50,000 kW, says Sun Yulong, secretary Of the Dunhuang City Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"Photovoltaic generation in Dunhuang will eventually reach 10 million kW," he says of the city's plans.

China's government began the strategy of "developing the west" in 2000 to help the less-developed areas of western China -- six provinces, five autonomous regions and Chongqing Municipality -- catch up with relatively well-off eastern China.

According to the second phrase of the strategy, Dunhuang is a major part of "China's New Energy Map."

New energy projects top the 23 key projects in 2010 listed in the strategy.

"It is of great importance for China and the world that China's west find its way with a new development mode. It should be clean, scientific and efficient development," says Yang Mu, senior researcher with the East Asian Institute of Singapore's National University.

"The western part of China has an acute shortage of water. It is uninhabitable for large populations, and unsuitable for a labor-intensive industrial economy," Yang says.

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