Geothermal energy generates economic benefits

Updated: 2014-05-16 17:23


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NANCHANG - Geothermal energy could be part of the solution to China's emissions and energy problems.

"With the help of home-grown technology, we will use the clean energy more to produce electricity," said Chen Xiaoning, deputy head of the environment department under the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The government also has plans for low-carbon communities, according to Wang Jiyang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

China has been taking pains to make the best use of geothermal energy. In 1977, Yangbajain geothermal power station, the biggest of its kind in China, was established in Tibet. The station is being upgraded to generate 7.2 million kwh of electricity annually for each unit, greatly slashing the use of standard coal and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Four geothermal wells have been approved by housing authorities in north China's Tianjin Binhai New Area, which can provide heating for 300,000 square meters of floor space, said Wang Jiyang.

Geothermal energy can greatly decrease pollutants produced by burning coal, such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Juliet Newson, president of the International Geothermal Association, said China's fledgling geothermal industry is of great significance to the exploration of geothermal resources around the world.

A national geothermal association will be established soon, said Wang Bingchen from the Counselors' Office of the State Council. The association will focus on international academic exchanges and technological innovation, according to Newson.

Despite bright prospects, the industry is still pressed by problems, including high costs, little innovation, incomplete service systems and lagging research efforts, said Wang Bingchen.

"The government should offer preferential policies to attract foreign investment, and explore how geothermal energy resources can help against pollution," Wang suggested.

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