Mainland power plants will have to buy rights to emit sulfur dioxide from as early as next year, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Wang Jinnan, vice-president of the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning. The proposal to charge US$79.15 per tonne for the emissions quotas comes as Beijing seeks ways to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide by 10% by 2010. The tradeable quotas will be worth around US$879.5 million annually based on current output. The mainland is the world's biggest emitter of sulfur dioxide, producing more than 25 million tonnes last year, which the State Environmental Protection Administration estimated caused US$62.8 billion in economic losses through acid rain. Coal- and oil-fired power plants accounted for 11 million tonnes. Wang said the scheme, which is subject to consultation with provinces and the power sector, would see electricity prices rise by US$0.01 per kilowatt-hour. He said the money raised would be spent on promoting renewable-energy development and energy efficiency.
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