[BEIJING] China's top state planning agency pledged on Thursday to accelerate policies to promote cleaner and renewable sources of energy and tackle overcapacity in polluting industrial sectors.
The National Development and Reform Commision (NDRC) in its annual report published at the opening of the full session of parliament said that it would implement policies aimed at reducing coal consumption and controlling the number of energy-intensive projects in polluted regions.
It also said that it would take action to boost the proportion of cleaner fuels, encourage the development and utilisation of natural gas, and aggressively develop renewable wind, solar and biofuel energy sources.
China is trying to strike a balance between improving its environment, suffering from more than three decades of breakneck growth, and keeping its economy running at the pace required to maintain employment and stability.
While trying to cut the consumption of polluting fossil fuels to ease choking smog, the NDRC said it would also take action to "turn the coal sector around", with prices at low levels and more than 70 per cent of miners said to be facing losses.
Beijing alredy implemented a series of measures last year aimed at propping up coal prices by curbing imports and controlling output.
Overcapacity remains a problem in a number of sectors, such as steel and cement, and the NDRC said it would introduce more measures to encourage mergers and close outdated capacity.
According to the government work report to be delivered to parliament by Premier Li Keqiang, China will aim to cut energy intensity - the amount of energy used per unit of GDP growth - by 3.1 per cent in 2015.
The rate fell by 4.8 per cent in 2014, and the government is on course to meet a 16 per cent drop over the 2011-2015 period.