CBS Newsletter
Spring 1997
pg. 5

The China Energy Group

A city-owned cogeneration plant, built in 1989 in Weihai, Shandong, received an award from the Chinese government as an advanced energy-efficient enterprise.

The Energy Analysis Program's China Energy Group-a core team of four Mandarin-speaking U.S. and Chinese researchers, plus leader Mark Levine and a dozen other staff members-has worked closely with energy policymakers in China for nearly a decade. Their goal is to better understand the dynamics of energy use in China and to develop and enhance the capabilities of institutions that promote energy efficiency in that country. This unique collaboration began as a joint effort with the Energy Research Institute of China's State Planning Commission, but the Group's network has expanded to include other research organizations, government offices, and enterprises.

A central achievement of the Group has been to support an ongoing exhange program, begun in 1989, with Chinese energy research organizations. Major analytic reports include the first assessment outside China of the country's remarkable energy-conservation programs (1990) and five sectoral studies demonstrating large energy-efficiency opportunities (1991-1994). Perhaps the most popular of the Group's reports has been the China Energy Databook, the most authoritative sourcebook of its kind (1992, revised 1994 and 1996). Group members also participated in the 1995 Presidential Mission on Sustainable Development and Trade to China.

The Group's current work includes a broad range of activities, from policy studies at the national level to business-oriented evaluations of specific energy-efficiency projects. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly funding a study of energy-efficiency opportunities in China. The study includes a scenario-based assessment of the maximum realistic penetration of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies and promising technologies and programs in buildings and building materials manufacturing. This work will help the U.S. cooperate with China to develop practical response strategies to global climate change and other energy-related issues of mutual interest.

According to David Fridley, who leads the Group's efforts: "We have helped to manage an international effort to transform China's refrigerator industry and market, which is the largest in the world. Developed with support from EPA, a CFC-free, super-efficient prototype refrigerator model has undergone laboratory tests and year-long field testing, demonstrating up to 50% reduction in energy use over the model on which it was based. We have also led the effort to obtain Global Environmental Facility funds to help refrigerator manufacturers adopt the energy-efficient designs, as well as develop a consumer awareness campaign, energy-efficiency labeling, and a three-year technical training program. We have also provided China with training in analytical techniques and procedures in their effort to develop mandatory refrigerator energy-efficiency standards."

China is vigorously pursuing its Green Lights Program, aimed at raising the efficiency of lighting systems throughout the country. Lighting accounts for more than 10% of China's electricity use and is dominated by cheap but inefficient incandescent lamps. The China Group works closely with the Beijing Energy Efficiency Center (BECon), to provide technical assistance and training using funding from EPA and the United Nations Development Program. BECon is managing technical work for China's Green Lights Program.

Building on its work promoting U.S. participation in China's cogeneration industry, the Group is now collaborating with the China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation-a state-funded energy-efficiency investment firm-to identify and evaluate business opportunities in industrial-process energy efficiency. The Group is also working with organizations in the U.S. to identify the needs of American businesses who wish to invest in China and to bring together potential Chinese and U.S. energy-efficiency business partners.

The Group's initial work in promoting cogeneration is expected to receive continued support from DOE. In collaboration with Jack Siegel of Energy Resources International, the Group is working with the Chinese to develop procedures for simplifying approvals of U.S. investment in Chinese cogeneration.

Jonathan Sinton, another core member of the scientific team, adds: "We have always emphasized close collaboration with our colleagues in China. This year, we expect to host groups from China for training in efficient lighting technologies and standards and in energy management and financing. We also travel frequently to China for joint research projects and conferences. Upcoming trips will involve work on the lighting and refrigerators projects, as well as participation in a major industrial energy-efficiency activity sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), presentations at the regional meeting of the World Energy Conference in China, and participation in Sino-U.S. meetings of the Energy Efficiency Working Group. The ADB project will be the basis for a larger assistance program for regulatory change and investment packages to promote energy efficiency in China's reformed economic environment."

Besides carrying out numerous collaborative research projects, in 1993 the Group helped found BECon-China's first market-oriented organization for energy-efficiency consulting and advocacy. Mark Levine leads the Energy Policy Team of the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Working Group, which is coordinating bilateral energy-efficiency activities.

—Karen H. Olson and Nathan Martin with Jonathan Sinton

Info icon

Jonathan Sinton
(510) 486-7762
David Fridley
(510) 486-7318
Energy Analysis Program
(510) 486-6996 fax

This work is supported by DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, and Office of Policy, and by EPA's Air Pollution Prevention Division and Office of International Activities.

EETD Newsletter Home Page
CBS Newsletter Home Page
Table of Contents for this Issue