How the People’s Republic of China Is Pursuing Energy Efficiency Initiatives: A Case Study

Abstract The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been paying increasing attention to enhancing energy efficiency, especially in the wake of rapid expansion of power generating capacity in recent years. The existing even-load power generation scheduling regime, however, fails to contribute toward the objective of energy efficiency in power generation and is now regarded as a major cause of energy inefficiency and environmental problems. Since early 2007, the government has adopted unprecedented actions to reform the scheduling rule and has coupled it with equally strong actions to phase out inefficient power generating units. The initial outcomes indicate that the policy has been effective and successful. Over 500 inefficient small thermal generating units, with the combined generating capacity of 14.4 gigawatts, were decommissioned during the first year of implementation. This has resulted in significant reduction in coal consumption, greenhouse gas, and other pollutant emissions, and impressive improvement in energy efficiency. Why is the policy successful and effective? What challenges lie ahead during further implementation? What lessons can one draw from the experience in the PRC? This paper attempts to address these questions, focusing on the key concern of implementation. Any program, no matter how meticulously designed, amounts to nothing if not implemented carefully. (note: this article is actually more suited to the section on energy efficiciency, and will also be included in this section. However, it is also included here, as it specifically relates to the coal sector, and has been highlighted as being regionally significant by the Asian Development Bank)
Author Asian Development Bank Sustainable Development Working Paper Series Jun Tian, May 2008
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2 Coal