China sets up energy efficiency unit

China has set up its own energy efficiency unit, the Energy Conservation Information Dissemination Centre, in co-operation AEA Technology Environment which runs the UK's Best Practice Programme for industry.

China is the World’s largest producer and consumer of coal in 1996 1.4 billion tons were produced accounting for 30% of World production. Coal is cheap and it is the obvious source of power for Chinese industry. But the effect of burning that much coal could be extremely damaging to the environment.

Staff from AEA Technology Environment will work with the new centre in Beijing to help it reproduce the success enjoyed by its British counterpart, which has already reduced Britain’s emissions of carbon, by 3.3 million tonnes since 1989. Around 580 million tonnes of carbon are currently emitted by Chinese industry every year and the AEA Technology team, working with the Chinese authorities, are aiming to reduce this by 18 million tonnes.

The plan to improve energy efficiency in China is being funded by the Global Environment Facility, a body created by the developed nations to limit the effect of climate change. The World Bank, UN Development Programme and UN Environment Programme are all been involved in implementing the plan.

The Chinese government identified the UK programme as the most appropriate of the energy efficiency programmes being run around the world because it focuses on helping industry improve profits by saving energy. With state control currently being relaxed over Chinese industry factories are being encouraged to be more competitive and saving energy could help them achieve this.

A team of six energy efficiency experts from AEA Technology Environment will be based in Britain and Beijing during the project. They will help the new Energy Conservation Information Dissemination Centre to produce 100 case studies detailing the experiences of Chinese industry. The team will also produce 20 technical reports giving information to help industry save money by using energy efficiently. The Centre will hold publicity events and training days to persuade industry to be more energy efficient.

Melanie Slade, project manager for AEA Technology Environment, said: “China generates most of its power by burning coal. Many factories and power plants use this energy very inefficiently and simple solutions like tuning boilers properly or repairing leaks could save them a lot of money. This market based approach of encouraging industry to increase profits by becoming more energy efficient has had tremendous success in Britain and the Chinese government believes it could be just as successful in China.”

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