China owns wind and sun under new provincial decree
A new regulation imposed by China’s Heilongjiang Province last week is provoking some controversy in the energy sector as to who owns what.
The new rule states that renewable energy companies must be licensed before they set up wind or solar power installations and that the energy they produce is owned by the government.
The regulation also stipulates that companies must apply for a license and prove that their project is economically beneficial and they are qualified to carry it out. Companies that fail to comply can be fined up to 100,000 yuan (USD15,737).
"There's no regulation limiting companies from developing wind and solar energy resources and most set up their projects wherever they like, causing a messy environment," Zhang Wangchao, an official from the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC Heilongjiang Committee was quoted by the Global Times.
"The central government has been planning to make laws on exploiting 'climate resources' and it's good for Heilongjiang to step forward. Other provinces can learn from their experience," an expert told the China National Radio.
Before establishing a wind farm or photovoltaic plant, an enterprise often buys meteorological data from local bureaus, but many find the official data is incomplete, so they have to collect it on their own, Lin Boqiang, professor with China Center for Energy Economics Research of Xiamen University in Fujian Province, told the Global Times.
Now, according to the new provincial regulations, a company wanting to invest in solar energy and wind power must submit its research results and data to the local weather bureau.
While officials consider the new regulations a step forward, Web users were confused by the notion that the State can own sunshine and wind.
"The regulation is repeating what the Constitution states, which is that all natural resources are State-owned," Meng Xian'gan, deputy director of China Renewable Energy Society, told Beijing-based Legal Daily.
The regulation apparently means to imply that the energy produced from private solar and wind power projects must be sold to State-owned energy distribution corporations.