China to step up geothermal energy development in clean heating push

By Andrew Hayley and Qin Ningwei

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will actively expand the use of geothermal energy, Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing told a conference on Friday, as the world’s biggest energy consumer seeks to adopt cleaner sources of power for heating.

China will also increase the scale of wind and solar power projects, while also safely advancing nuclear power plant construction, Zhang added.

Sinopec plans to add 75 million square meters of geothermal heating area in order to reach a target of 160 million square meters by the end of 2025, Ma Yongsheng, chairman of state-owned refiner Sinopec, said at the same conference.

The company already has geothermal capacity of over 85 million square meters after 11 years of development, added Ma.

Clean power sources in northern China, including geothermal, have contributed to improving air quality, said Zhang Jianhua, Director of the National Energy Administration of China.

China’s National Energy Administration has proposed increasing the geothermal heating-cooling area by 50% in the five years from 2020 as well as doubling the geothermal power generation capacity.

(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and Ningwei Qin; Editing by Tom Hogue and Miral Fahmy)