China looks to energy efficiency in a bid to accelerate its green economy

China looks to energy efficiency in a bid to accelerate its green economy

China’s commitment to industrial energy efficiency has been impressive. However, a number of financial and regulatory barriers are limiting the energy efficiency potential of small to medium industrial enterprises.

25 Nov 2019


Decades of unprecedented economic growth driven by industry has fueled Chinese demand for energy. As a result, China is considered the world’s largest energy user, the largest producer and consumer of coal, and the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions. As the Chinese economic boom inevitably slows, the country’s industrial backbone is looking for ways to reduce emissions while remaining competitive.

As climate change and pollution influence Chinese policy, energy efficiency and conservation strategies are gaining ground among national decision-makers and major industrial players. Between 2000 and 2015, several leading companies made impressive headway and energy efficiency improved by 30 per cent.

Engaging energy intensive micro, small and medium industrial enterprises, while promoting efficient technology abroad, is key to significantly reducing emissions and furthering the vast potential of China’s energy efficiency market.

The Industrial Energy Accelerator  

In partnership with key government agencies and industry stakeholders, the Industrial Energy Accelerator is working on the ground to rally government, industry and finance around solutions that ignite change in energy-intensive industries. The Accelerator is co-convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Carbon Trust, with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  

Recommending incentives to accelerate efficient technology  

A general reliance on government-based financial assistance - such as the provision of guaranteed loans and efficiency funding - is inhibiting the development of the energy service market as well as the distribution of energy efficiency technologies and products. It is often difficult for smaller enterprises to apply for affordable loans due to collateral and data requirements.  

The Industrial Energy Accelerator is analyzing a number of low-carbon financial incentives to catalyze industrial energy efficiency. Incentives, including tax relief and concessional loans, are seen as the next strategic step to drive China’s energy efficiency revolution further.  

Promoting energy efficiency along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)  

While China’s commitment and progress on industrial energy efficiency has drawn global acclaim, there is still room for policy improvement and wider dissemination. In close partnership with government and local stakeholders, the Industrial Energy Accelerator is working to promote the integration of industrial energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies in China and along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Stretching across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the BRI represents a strategic trade network for Chinese goods and services. China’s emerging energy services market is poised to benefit from investments of more than US$6 trillion in low-carbon power generation and other clean-energy technologies over the next 20 years.

Since its launch, the Industrial Energy Accelerator has engaged dozens of critical actors on the road to energy efficiency.  For more information on how your organization can support and join the movement, contact the Accelerator’s China project coordinator, Nurzat Myrsalieva: