1Current state of energy conservation in China

Energy saving is a basic national policy of China. China is implementing an energy development policy that balances “savings” and “development” and prioritizes “savings.” During the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), energy consumption by total domestic production in China per GDP unit was reduced by 18.4%. As China’s economy continues to develop and strengthen the improvement of its industrial structure, the rate of increase in energy consumption is slowing down, and the number of industries with high energy consumption and high emission is likely to gradually decrease. However, the demand for energy consumption in China are deemed to continue to increase due to the acceleration of industrialization and urbanization and the sustainable improvement of the consumption structure; accordingly, problems related to resource and environmental are still regarded as one of the causes limiting China’s economic and social development. Energy saving and emission reduction are still big issues, and they are not easy to solve and are in a difficult situation.


2. Overview of energy conservation policy in general

In the 21st century, China’s economy is developing rapidly, while the ecological environment in China is deteriorating. Extensive use of resources has exacerbated the problem, and the contradiction between economic development and the resource environment has become more and more noticeable. In the “Eleventh Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China” promulgated in 2006, China initially set a goal of reducing energy consumption by about 20% per unit GDP [10,000 yuan]. In 2007, the old version of the “China Energy Conservation Law” enacted in November 1997 was amended; the revised law enacted the national energy-saving policy by stating “Energy conservation is a basic national policy of China. The government will implement an energy development policy that balances “saving” and “development” and prioritizes “saving”.

According to the “Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction Plan in the 13th Five-Year Plan” announced by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on January 5, 2017, the energy consumption per national GDP (million yuan) will be reduced by 15% from 2015 by 2020. A goal has been also set to limit total energy consumption to equivalent standard coal of 5 billion tons or less. In addition, policies were presented in eight priority areas. The main policies for industrial energy saving are as follows:


Main policies for industrial energy saving

  • Promote the construction of energy management centers for industrial companies, make the industry smarter, and disseminate energy usage monitoring and diagnostic technologies.
  • Bringing the energy efficiency of priority multi-consumer industries such as electric power, steel, non-ferrous metals, building materials, petrochemicals, and chemicals to the world’s most advanced level.
  • Improve industrial production efficiency and energy efficiency by fusing next-generation information technology and manufacturing technology. Develops power demand side management activities. The ratio of renewable energy in total energy consumption is included in the examination criteria for industrial parks.

5 key items for which the targets are quantified for 2020 are shown with indicators as below.

Item Indicator 2020 target value
Energy structure coal ratio in total energy consumption 58% or less
thermal power generation ratio in coal consumption 55% or more
non-fossil energy ratio in total energy consumption 15%
natural gas ratio in total energy consumption Around 10%
Industrial energy saving Energy consumption reduction rate per added value for industrial companies of a certain size or larger 18% or more
Energy saving of energy-intensive equipment Increasing the real operating efficiency of coal-burning industrial boilers 5 points
efficiency of newly manufactured coal-burning boiler 80% or more
Efficiency of newly manufactured gas-burning boilers 92% or more
Circulation of industrial parks Circulation remodeling of national-grade industrial parks 75%
Circulation remodeling of provincial industrial park 50%
Circulation Remodeling of Provincial Level or above Heavy Chemical Industry Zone in Yangtze River Economic Belt 90% or above


3. Energy saving regulations related to products

The above-mentioned “China Energy Conservation Law” stipulates energy efficiency policies such as energy efficiency label management for products, energy conservation product certification, and government procurement as well as basic policies for energy conservation in general.

The “Energy Efficiency Sign Management Law” was promulgated in August 2004 (revised in 2016) in line with the implementation of energy efficiency sign management. The “Energy Efficiency Label Control Law” stipulates how to implement energy efficiency labels for controlled products that are mandatorily targeted. After that, lists of target products, detailed implementation rules and standards related to the certification were developed and promulgated one after another.

In order to completely build an energy saving system, the Chinese government has adopted the “China Energy Conservation Product Certification Management Law”, “Energy Efficiency Top Runner Program Implementation Plan (Plan)”, Government Green Procurement System and Environmental Conservation “Top Runner” Program, and based on these laws and systems, the government has established self-certification systems of different types to promote energy conservation.