China invests 3.5 bln yuan to popularize use of new energy in rural areas:

China invests 3.5 bln yuan to popularize use of new energy in rural areas: white paper

The Chinese government spent 3.5 billion yuan (around 438 million US dollars) during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period(2001 - 2005) to popularize new types of energy in China's rural areas, says a white paper entitled Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005) issued on Monday.

By the end of 2005, there were more than 17 million households using methane, and the yearly output of methane reached 6.5 billion cubic meters, according to the white paper, released by the Information Office of the State Council of China.

China regarded the development of new-energy projects including an ecological model of marsh gas in rural areas as an important approach to protecting and improving the rural ecological environment.

The government has devoted major efforts to developing a project producing methane from wastes in livestock and poultry breeding, the white paper says.

So far, more than 2,200 such methane projects have been completed, treating more than 60 million tons of faeces. And 137,000 methane pits for purifying domestic sewage and over 500 central heating projects with gas from burning stalks have been built, according to the white paper.

In addition, 189 million households now use fuel-saving stoves, and solar water heaters cover a total of 28.5 million sq m. Meanwhile, the government has been actively promoting the use of renewable solar, wind and geothermal energy sources, the white paper says.