I enjoyed Peter Goodman's June 25 front-page story, "Out of the Dark in Rural China; Electricity Transforming Village Life," but I was surprised that it did not mention China's Township Electrification Program, which has brought electricity to more than 1,000 remote towns using renewable energy, including significant amounts of solar photovoltaic cells and small hydropower projects, with some windpower as well.
In just 20 months (ending in mid-2003), nearly a million people gained access to electricity thanks to this program. The next phase will target an additional 20,000 villages. This is the largest project ever undertaken anywhere to electrify rural areas with renewable energy. About $240 million in public funds has been spent thus far.
Also important to note is that China announced significant new targets for "new renewables" last month at the International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn.
These renewables will represent 10 percent of China's power-generating capacity by 2010 and 12 percent by 2020, despite an expected doubling of electricity demand during this period.
Given the rapid growth in energy demand in China and its implications for the global oil market, climate change and other concerns, China's commitment to renewables is a story well worth covering.
JANET L. SAWIN
Energy and Climate Change Program