Energy Efficiency in China

Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) programme findings and work

China has been one of the driving forces behind energy efficiency gains in E4 countries, representing 80% of the efficiency gains between 2000 to 2017 across the six economies. It can keep its leading role between today and 2040 representing 50% of potential savings under Efficient World Strategy.


Overview


China has made huge strides in energy efficiency. Without the energy efficiency improvements that have been made since 2000, China would have used 12% more energy in 2017. Moreover, the evolution of China's economy away from energy intensive sectors – mainly in industry – and the development of its services sector, created structural changes that also helped diminish energy demand.

Efficiency gains were mainly achieved in the industry sector. Nearly 80% of these savings was due to the industry and service sectors where increases in output have more than quadrupled the gross value added since 2000.

	Energy savings due to energy efficiency
Industry and services	7.75
Residential Buildings	2.13
Passenger transport	0.91
Freight transport		-0.24

{
   "title": {
      "text": "Energy savings due to energy efficiency (2000-17)"
    },
 
	"chart": {
		"type": "column",
"height": "50%"
	},
	"plotOptions": {
		"line": {
			"marker": { "enabled": true },
			"lineWidth":0
		},
		"column": {
			"stacking":"normal"
		}
	},
    "yAxis": {
       "title": {
           "text": "EJ"
       }
    },
    "tooltip": {
       "valueDecimals": 2,
       "valueSuffix": "EJ"
    },

"legend": {
		"enabled" : false
	},

"series":[{"colorIndex":"0"}, {"colorIndex":"7"}]  

}

This has also had significant impacts beyond energy savings: GHG emissions of nearly 1.2 Gt CO2-eq, equivalent to almost half those of the United States, were prevented, and 10% less fossil fuel imports was required by China's economy.

Energy efficiency opportunities


Perspectives for China under the Efficient World Scenario are particularly promising. Energy consumption could reach a peak by 2030, and save 16 EJ, the equivalent of France and Germany energy use, by 2040 compared to current trends. These savings would be coming from the industry (41%) and the transport (30%) sectors.

Moreover, CO2 emissions could fall 26% below current levels, preventing 2 Gt CO2-eq additional emissions by 2040 compared to current trends.

 	Historical	NPS	EWS

2012	8.6
2013	9.0
2014	9.0
2015	9.0
2016	9.0	9.0	9.0
2025		9.2	8.6
2030		9.2	8.1
2035		9.0	7.3
2040		8.6	6.6

{
              "chart": {
                "type": "line",
                "height": "40%"
              },
              "title": {
              	"text": "Emissions in China under the NPS and EWS scenarios"
              },
              "yAxis": {
                "min": 6,
                "title": {
                  "text": "Gt-CO2"
                }
              },
              "xAxis": {
                    "plotBands": [
                      {
                        "from": 2000,
                        "to": 2016,
                        "color": "#fafafa",
                        "label": {
                          "text": "Historical"
                        }
                      },
                      {
                        "from": 2016,
                        "to": 2040,
                        "label": {
                            "text": "Future"
                        }
                      }
                    ]
                  },
              "yAxis": {
                "min": 6,
                "title": {
                  "text": "Gt-CO2"
                }
              },
              "xAxis": {
"plotBands": [
{
"from": 2000,
"to": 2016,
"color": "#fafafa",
"label": {
"text": "Historical"
}
},
{
"from": 2016,
"to": 2040,
"label": {
"text": "Future"
},
"className": "nofill"
}
]
},
"legend": {
"align": "right",
"verticalAlign": "middle",
"layout": "vertical"
},
"plotOptions": {
"series": {
"zoneAxis": "x",
"zones": [{
"value": 2016
},
{
"className": "dotted"
}],
"marker": {
"enabled": false
},
"tooltip": {
"valueSuffix": " Gt-CO2"
}
}
}
}

China's policy has achieved great results over the past decade and today 60% of final energy use is covered by mandatory energy efficiency policies. Policy coverage is highest in industry, at nearly 70%, because of the mandatory energy efficiency improvement targets introduced through the Top 1 000 and Top 10 000 Programmes

	Mandatory policy coverage 
Industry	68
Transport	57
Residential buildings	33
Non-residential buildings	63
Total	60


{
   "title": {
       "text": "Energy use covered by mandatory energy efficiency policies in China"
    },
    "chart": {
       "type": "bar"
    },
    "plotOptions": {
      "column": {
         "stacking": "normal"
       }
    },
    "tooltip": {
      "valueDecimals": 0,
      "valueSuffix": "%"
    },
    "yAxis": {
      "max": 100,
      "title": {
        "text": "Energy use covered"
      },
      "labels": {
         "format": "{value}%"
      }
    }
}

To further achieve the savings in the EWS, efforts will have to be made. In the industry sector where the largest saving potentials are, improving electric motor efficiency which is at IE2 level today and pushing the implementation of energy management systems will be key.

In the transport sector, the second largest in terms of saving potentials, fuel efficiency standards still have a margin of progress. Passenger cars in China are still 27% less efficient than in the EU.

Finally, MEPS will be central to the energy efficiency policy in China with new standards being introduced to cover additional appliances and equipment. Policy implementation will be essential as will the enforcement of the new standards.

Our Work in China


The IEA published the first ever China-focused Energy Efficiency Market Report analysis in 2016 in Chinese language. The IEA-China collaboration has been important in bringing global attention to the Chinese energy efficiency story and in offering lessons and detailed analysis to others. This includes conducting joint studies on district heating systems, and building ERI's modelling capabilities. This is supporting China’s international engagement on energy efficiency, through IEA events such as the Ministerial conferences, and through forums such as G20.

Future work will include modelling and projections to drive an integrated approach to decarbonisation, development of energy efficiency standards for public services, and providing support for energy transition in cities.

Related resources


IEA publications on China

Other resources