China is likely to produce over 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2007, up five percent from last year, said Wang Xianzheng, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety.

The growth compares with an average annual rate of 11.5 percent over the last seven years when China's coal output rose from 1.25 billion tons in 2000 to 2.38 billion tons in 2006.

"Continuous rise in coal output supported China's fast economic growth," said Wang.

But as coal causes serious pollution, the government has put the development of renewable energy high on its agenda. A plan announced last month said China will increase the portion of renewable energy to 15 percent in its total energy consumption in 2020.


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