Today, China is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters and consumers of energy, with the average Chinese factory using about 11 times as much energy as its equivalent in Japan. In 2005, the Chinese government began an aggressive five-year plan to improve the energy efficiency of the country’s top 1,000 energy-consuming enterprises. These companies, which together account for one-third of China’s energy use, each emit more than 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The companies include China’s largest power plants, steel mills, petrochemical companies, and paper mills, among others.
By 2009, however, few companies had taken advantage of government incentives for energy-efficiency improvements, and many companies experienced significant challenges in meeting the targets: a lack of data analysis and reporting capacity, a lack of knowledge about the ROI for energy- efficiency improvement programs, and very little actionable guidance on how to make improvements. BSR partnered with the Guangdong Energy Conservation Center (GDECC) to help address these challenges and help Guangdong’s top energy-consuming enterprises improve their efficiency.
BSR, with the support of the British Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, and in partnership with the GDECC, launched a two-year project to train factory staff in energy management and to develop tools to calculate the ROI for energy-efficiency retrofits. Our strategy included the following key components:
- Launch of a six-month technical training curriculum to help energy managers find low-cost, high-ROI ways to reduce their energy consumption
- Creation of an energy-efficiency web portal (www.chinajieneng.org) that incorporates energy efficiency and ROI calculators, energy-management information and guides, and current energy technology information from local sellers
- Development of an online tool for companies to analyze and report their energy use and efficiency data on a quarterly and annual basis
- Launch of the China Energy Efficiency Training Series for suppliers of leading international companies to collect best practices on energy and carbon efficiency for small- and medium-sized enterprises
Since our energy-efficiency training series, all of the 25 top energy-consuming enterprises who participated in the training developed action plans to reduce energy use by 2010. For example, Guangdong’s largest steel mill, a project participant, will install a heat-recovery system that will help it cut 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Most of the 20 small- and medium-sized suppliers who participated in the program have also begun energy- efficiency projects, with some already reporting reductions in energy use. In addition, by the end of 2009, nearly 900 companies had begun using the online tool to report and analyze their energy data.
As China prepares to develop its 12th national five-year plan, the GDECC will share with local and national policymakers the successes and challenges of this program to make recommendations on which policies and targets to implement at the national level.