China to raise subsidies for clean power generation

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will raise subsidies for cleaner forms of electricity from Sept 25, the state planning agency said on Friday, in a move that could help thermal power plants meet the country's tough new air pollution standards.

China's power plants have lobbied the government for more subsidies, saying they cannot afford to install new equipment to cut emissions because fixed power prices do not allow them to pass on the cost to consumers.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a notice posted on its website that it would raise subsidies for electricity generated by renewable sources to 0.015 yuan per kilowatt hour (KWh) from 0.008 yuan.

It will also raise subsidies for thermal power plants that have installed equipment designed to cut nitrogen oxide emissions and particulate matter to mandatory levels, providing 0.01 yuan per KWh, up from 0.008 yuan at present.

Solar power subsidies will also be increased, it said.

China's National Energy Administration, a unit of the NDRC, launched an investigation earlier this month into the efforts by the country's power plants to install new equipment to control pollution.

The investigation came after the Ministry of Environmental Protection accused several power firms of covering up the extent of their pollution by manipulating data or tampering with mandatory sensors and control equipment, allowing them to qualify for subsidies.