A crack down on power producers who fraudulently claiming green subsidies has been urged by an influential Chinese agency.
Beijing introduced a subsidy scheme last year to encourage power plants to cut air pollution, as part of a growing array of measures to battle the environmental consequences of three decades of unchecked growth.
But China's influential economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), launched a nationwide probe last year amid claims that dozens of firms were cheating the system by falsifying data and today the agency issued a notice saying that firms engaging in fraud to qualify would face severe penalties and public exposure.
Firms are reportedly exploiting a scheme that paid a higher price for power sold to the grid by power plants that had installed expensive equipment to cut pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
The NDRC said the probe showed many power firms had failed to install equipment properly, falsified emissions data or tampered with automatic emission sensors to trick authorities into granting the subsidy.
Last August, the NDRC raised tariffs for environmentally-compliant power plants to help utilities pay for expensive equipment to cut emissions, and promised to get tough on fraud in the sector.
Amendments to China's environmental law, expected to be passed in March, will make the supply of fraudulent emissions data a criminal offense, and will provide for heavier fines to be imposed on law-breaking firms.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is also spending 40bn yuan (£4bn) over the period from 2011 to 2015 to boost its real-time pollution monitoring capacity.