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[BEIJING] China is proposing an international multilateral science and technology cooperation scheme to hasten development of clean renewable energies.

The message was announced by Shang Yong, vice-minister of science and technology, on Tuesday (18 September) at the International Solar Energy Society's (ISES) Solar World Congress in Beijing.

Shang said the scheme will promote multilateral agreements to encourage international governments to support renewable energy. 

He hopes both developed and developing nations will join the scheme.

Earlier this month, China revealed its own ambitious renewable energy plan, to get 10 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2010, and 15 per cent by 2020 (see China launches large-scale renewable energy plan).

Shang believes stronger international science and technology cooperation will be important for China to reach these goals.

The multilateral cooperation scheme will establish international joint laboratories and research and development centres on renewable energy, as well as facilitating exchanges between scientists and engineers in the field.

Shang did not reveal how much money will be invested or how the centres will operate.

The scheme will act "as a platform for technology transfer from developed countries to the developing world," said Shang, adding the scheme will boost cooperation between governments in policymaking. The scientific community and industries worldwide will be involved in making policy recommendations to governments, he added.

Yogi Goswami, director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida, welcomed Shang's proposal, saying China's status as the largest developing country will help the multilateral scheme become more attractive and should bring "leap-forward progress in promoting the new, renewable energies".

Torben Esbensen, ISES president, said that the large Chinese market and its exemplary role in initiating this multilateral renewable energy scheme will encourage Western countries to transfer more technologies to China.

Running for four days in Beijing, the ISES Solar World Congress 2007 attracted more than 1000 delegates from some 60 countries.