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Posted Wed Oct 26 2011: from New York Times:
China Takes a Loss to Get Ahead in the Business of Fresh Water
Towering over the Bohai Sea shoreline on this city's outskirts, the Beijiang Power and Desalination Plant is a 26-billion-renminbi technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollution controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water. There is but one wrinkle in the $4 billion plant: The desalted water costs twice as much to produce as it sells for. Nevertheless, the owner of the complex, a government-run conglomerate called S.D.I.C., is moving to quadruple the plant's desalinating capacity, making it China's largest. "Someone has to lose money," Guo Qigang, the plant's general manager, said in a recent interview. "We're a state-owned corporation, and it's our social responsibility."
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