China has made energy conservation and energy efficiency one of its top priorities as a means of guiding its economic and social development. In the past three decades, while China’s economy increased eighteen‑fold, energy consumption increased only five‑fold. The energy intensity of China’s GDP declined by about seventy percent during the same period. In the face of resource and environmental constraints, China vowed to make energy conservation a foundation of its economic and social development strategy, as well as its energy and climate change strategy. It is now striving to lead in energy efficiency globally, having been responsible for more than half of the world’s entire energy savings in the past thirty years.
Since 2006, the Chinese government has embarked on one of the most aggressive energy conservation campaigns in the world, setting itself a mandatory target to cut energy intensity per unit of GDP by 20 percent in the 11th Five‑Year Plan (2006‑2010), with annual evaluations and examinations being carried out at the provincial, municipal and county levels, as well as in energy‑intensive enterprises. Similar commitments with a targeted sixteen percent reduction in the 12th Five‑Year Plan (2011‑2015) and fifteen percent in the 13th Five‑Year Plan (2016‑2020) were also renewed. Strong legal measures, regulatory policies and financial incentives have been put in place to ensure that these targets are met.
Both central and local governments have committed significant resources in the quest to fulfill these national energy‑savings goals. New and innovative policy mechanisms and programs have been successfully introduced. Thanks to the great efforts made in promoting energy efficiency, a number of good practices have emerged from different regions and different sectors. This report proposes eight criteria in selecting good practices and stories, including focusing on energy‑efficiency policies, being based on sectors, resulting in large energy savings, having clear or quantitative targets, having an implementation process that is measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV), having been enforced for at least three years, having relatively low costs and high benefits, and being replicable in other regions or sectors.
Based on these criteria, eight good practices and stories from the industrial, building and transportation sectors are identified, including the Top‑1,000 Enterprises Energy Efficiency Program, eliminating backward industrial production capacities, the financial rewards of industrial energy‑saving technical retrofits, energy‑efficiency standards for new buildings, energy‑conservation retrofits to existing buildings, promoting energy‑efficient appliances, and promoting energy efficiency and new energy vehicles, as well as fuel efficiency standards.
For each good practice and story, the specific background, key elements, implementation process, cost and benefits are discussed, as well as the challenges and barriers to further replication and scaling up. Based on these good practices and stories in respect of energy conservation, the report also discusses the feasibility of improving and rolling out these policies continually, as well as their multiple benefits in ensuring environmental improvements and competitiveness upgrading.