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China increases its commitment to Green Energy


China recently established its first national Green Energy think tank - the China National Renewable Energy Center (CNREC). The CNREC will be tasked with conducting research and advising the government on State renewable energy policies and programs, while also drafting national standards and carrying out international cooperative programs.

The installation of the CNREC follows China's 12th five-year plan (2011-2015), which focuses on green growth and environmental issues such as reducing air, heavy metal and soil pollution and producing clean drinking water for its increasingly urban population. By the year 2015, the plan aims to increase the proportion of non-fossil fuels in overall primary energy use to 11.4 percent; slash carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent; and reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent.

Thailand also shares lofty green goals with China - by 2020 Thailand aims for 20 percent of total energy to be supplied by green energy alternatives. These policy synergies offer green entrepreneurs a terrific opportunity to move early, with the support of the Thai and Chinese governments, to the benefit of business and, most importantly, our environment.

While the CNREC will operate more on a governmental level, I believe there are great opportunities for SMEs, the scientific sector and industry bodies. The Board of Investment is already supporting clean-tech projects via an array of incentives, tariffs and benefits to drive local financing initiatives - now is the time to act.

As China becomes increasingly urbanized, there will also be opportunities for Thai companies and scientists with expertise in water purification and recycling, the construction of energy-efficient buildings and building materials, and in public transport design and construction.

Biomass and biogas projects (waste-to-energy conversion) are also an area of focus for China, and an area of expertise for Thailand. Bangchak Petroleum has already moved into this space, securing a seven-year, $79 million ethanol supply contract to start in October this year and there is plenty of more room for development here.

Investors should also start investigating both established and fledgling green companies which may be due to receive support from the Chinese government - an area where I expect significant funds to be allocated over the next few years.

The establishment of the CNREC will be of great benefit to our environment in Asia, and to green entrepreneurs in Thailand. Thailand should continue to aggressively pursue its own green energy goals through the support of its green businesses. Alongside countries such as China, Thailand has the opportunity to lead the world into a new, cleaner industrial age.

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