State-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, said it will further develop geothermal energy in Xiongan New Area, Hebei province, as it seeks to make the smog-ridden region smokeless.
Sinopec Star Petroleum Ltd, Sinopec's geothermal energy development arm, said it would increase the geothermal and other new-energy heating area in Xiongan by 10 million square meters to 16 million sq m in 2017.
In 2016, by replacing coal with geothermal energy, the geothermal heating area in Xiongxian county, part of Xiongan New Area, reached 4.5 million sq m, making it the first region to achieve its smokeless city plan.
Geothermal energy is the heat from earth, which is sustainable and clean. Typically, such heat can be harnessed from hot water resources, shallow ground, underground hot rock and molten rock called magma.
Lyu Dapeng, director of the publicity department of Sinopec Group, said the oil giant and the Hebei provincial government agreed early this year to promote the use of geothermal energy in Xiongan New Area.
"We aim to make the region an example of geothermal energy utilization for the world," said Lyu.
The company wants to create 20 smokeless cities during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), covering 100 million sq m.
"The country accounts for one-sixth of the world's geothermal energy. At present, available geothermal power each year is equivalent to 640 million metric tons of standard coal, which can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 billion tons," Lyu said.
In 2016, to promote clean energy development and improve the environment, China launched the 13th Five-Year Plan for geothermal energy, the first such plan in this field.
According to the plan, the country plans to increase its installed geothermal energy capacity by 500 gigawatts by 2020.