Energy and environmental technology Environment

Posted May 1997

World Energy Council
Beijing, China
22-24 April 1997

Asia Pacific Forum on New Energy Technology

Reported by Gustavo Best, Senior Energy Coordinator, FAO Research, Extension and Training Division

See also: "National training workshop on Integrated Rural Energy Planning with Special Emphasis on Wood Energy"

THE WORLD ENERGY COUNCIL (WEC) is the largest and most influential international NGO on energy. It works through studies and meetings, at which the most important industrial and governmental representatives participate, and send important signals to the world community on major energy issues.

The Asia Pacific Forum on New Energy Technology for Asia Pacific, directed to all the Asia Pacific region, had as main goal the discussion of the future energy scenario in Asia, and particularly in China. China is by far the fastest growing energy market in the world, with a 7-8% annual growth rate. Coal continues to be the main energy source, primarily for electricity generation (70%) and, increasingly, for rural household cooking needs. Following coal, other major sources are oil, gas, hydro and renewables, in that order. It must be noted that fuelwood and other biomass accounts for more than 30% of total energy consumption in China, but is not adequately recorded or monitored.

The Forum was dominated by discussions and presentations by the coal, hydro, nuclear and hydrocarbon industries. Rural energy matters and renewable energy sources, although a formal section of the Forum, enjoyed less attention from the organizers, the press and the Plenary Sessions. Nevertheless, with the full support of China's Ministry of Agriculture - through its Environmental Protection and Energy Department, headed by Mr. Wang Xiwu - an important Renewable Energy Session was put together and reported back to Plenary.

Programme and participants

More that 1,000 persons participated in the Forum, representing around 22 countries. Many were from private companies, with others representing Governments, academic institutions and international organizations. A technical visit to a village-level gasification plant and to a semi-industrial biogas digester were carried out in the context of the work of the Renewable Energy Session.


The following are among the most important points raised in the Forum:

Follow-up to the Forum is in the hands of WEC and of the Government of China. It is the Report Writer's impression that the Forum achieved its goals regarding the exchange of information and the discussions with major power companies. Perhaps the need for another such Forum will appear in 4 to 5 years. In relation to Renewable Energy Development and Application, goals were not obvious, and it would be important for the organizers to assess the need and convenience of organizing a specific meeting on this topic in the future. This would require a thorough assessment in the light of ongoing efforts by ASEAN, FAO-RWEDP, ESCAP, APDC and other regional organizations and programmes.

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