A senior official has called on China to develop multiple energy sources in rural areas in an apparent effort to ease over-reliance on coal to meet the country｀s huge demand for electricity, state media said.
In the countryside, there are abundant resources of wind power, solar energy, methane power, geothermal energy and small-scale hydroelectric power, which can be effectively harnessed, Vice Minister of Water Resources Suo Lisheng was quoted by Xinhua news agency saying.
The country currently relies on coal for about 70 per cent of its energy needs, leading to pollution, environmental degradation, and hundreds of fatal mining accidents every year.
Mr Suo said developing alternative energy sources was a "prerequisite" for economic development in rural areas.
He cited small-scale hydroelectric power as an example of insufficiently tapped alternative energy, saying that at least 130 million kilowatts of the energy are unexploited in China｀s rural area.
The official said the resource was scattered in 1,600 counties in forests and natural reserves.
As a clean and recycled type of energy type, small-scale hydroelectric power can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will not destroy the surrounding environment, Mr Suo said.
He said China would soon enact a law on recycled resources to encourage the use of clean and recycled energies including small-scale hydroelectric power.
China｀s recent economic boom has highlighted the risks of being overly dependent on one energy source.
As the country｀s coalmines have been asked to ratchet up production to fuel the nation｀s production lines, fatal errors have been made, leading to a series of lethal mining accidents in recent months - the worst since the founding of the People｀s Republic in 1949.