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China Says Energy-Saving Campaign Back On Track

Campaign to make economy cleaner and more efficient is making progress after economic stimulus caused a setback by triggering boom in energy-intensive industries.

BEIJING (AP) -- China's campaign to make its fuel-guzzling economy cleaner and more efficient is making progress again after its huge economic stimulus caused a setback by triggering a boom in energy-intensive industries, the government said Thursday.

China is nearing the end of a five-year effort to cut power consumed per unit of economic output by 20 percent from 2006 levels. Stimulus spending on construction drove a boom in steel and cement production, boosting demand and prompting authorities to try to meet conservation targets by cutting power to factories and in at least one area to homes.

Energy intensity, or energy used per unit of economic output, fell 1.25 percent over the six months ending in June, said Zhu Hongren, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. He said the campaign made more progress in the three-month period ending in September but gave no figure.

"We are seeing positive progress in industries in energy conservation and emissions reduction," Zhu said at a news conference. "Energy consumption per unit of industrial value added is absolutely dropping."

Energy intensity fell by 14.4 percent by the end of 2009 after thousands of antiquated steel mills and other factories were forced to close, the government says.

Beijing responded in August by ordering the closure of 2,087 steel and cement mills and other factories that are deemed too wasteful. Zhu said that process was nearly complete.
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