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Bo Shen’s Blog

Taking the Next Step to Expand Demand Side Management Programs in China

Bo Shen

Posted March 12, 2009

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Working as an environmental advocate for many years now I've found what can often be most effective though also challenging is making sure everyone is speaking the same language. I've worked with my colleagues over the years to make that possible. Last month In February, in order to facilitate such a process, NRDC's China DSM & Energy Efficiency Project and our US partner the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance, successfully concluded the 2009 International Forum on Developing Effective Mechanisms for Energy Efficiency Implementation in China. Our event was a successful cooperation with Chinese government partners, the National Energy Administration and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Training Center - all powerful agencies in China interested in and working on energy efficiency.  The forum brought together key Chinese and U.S. government officials, energy efficiency experts, NGOs, and over 200 participants from Chinese utilities, enterprises, and energy service companies, to discuss ways to design and implement large-scale energy efficiency programs in China.

What proved remarkable about the two day forum and training event was that many individuals came together to speak on the topic from a variety of angles and outlooks and the subsequent cohesion that resulted during the forum. We opened with keynote speeches by Mr. Liu Qi, Deputy Director of the National Energy Administration, who spoke on the role of energy efficiency in China's energy policy and actions that China would take to improve its energy efficiency.  Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, emphasized the importance of initiating key policy reforms to achieve energy efficiency. NRDC's China Program Director, Barbara Finamore spoke about the opportunities for international cooperation on energy efficiency.  Finally, our long-time partners and supporters in California, Dian Grueneich, Commissioner for Energy Efficiency at the California Public Utilities Commission, and Art Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner, spoke on the programs and policies that have led California to be a leader in efficiency and its future efficiency plans under AB 32, California's global warming bill. Guest speakers included Steve Kline, Vice-President of California utility PG&E, who spoke on behalf of the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance; Rick Weston of the Regulatory Assistance Project, who discussed different institutional structures for implementing DSM programs in the US; Këri Bolding and Theresa Cho of the California Public Utilities Commission, who discussed the policy tools for achieving efficiency goals in the US. Dakers Gowans, Principal of Left Fork Energy, Terry Fry of Vice President at Nexant Consulting, and Steve Kromer, former Chairman of the Efficiency Valuation Organization were among the invited experts who made a series of presentations on the forum's second day covering the "nuts and bolts" of designing and implementing efficiency programs, including identifying efficiency opportunities, designing an efficiency portfolio, designing incentive programs, integrating ESCOs as efficiency providers, financing efficiency projects, and evaluating, measuring and verifying (EM&V) energy savings and emission reductions.

This international forum which brought together such varied technical experts marked the next step in NRDC's work to develop effective DSM programs in China.  After the resounding success of the Jiangsu DSM program, which NRDC help develop and the California government supported, this forum allowed us to expand the program by inviting others to learn the language and process of conducting DSM implementation in China. And it can be done and done well. The Jiangsu DSM Program currently provides 100 million RMB (about $15 million) in annual government incentives to enterprises to improve their energy efficiency, achieved energy savings equivalent to a 300 MW power plant from 2005 to 2007, reduced CO2 emissions by 1.8 million tons and was hailed by Premier Wen Jiabao as a national model. Many provincial and municipal governments in China, including Hebei, Sichuan, Suzhou and Beijing, are interested in expanding their DSM programs to help industrial enterprises improve their efficiency and help utilities to develop energy efficiency as a resource on par with building new power plants.  Indeed, as Steve Kline noted at the forum, "A kilowatt-hour saved from energy efficiency does just as much work as a kilowatt-hour from a power plant. But a kilowatt-hour from energy efficiency does not produce any greenhouse gases, and does not require the construction of a power plant or transmission lines."  NRDC is grateful to both our US and Chinese partners for helping to make the forum a success and helping to set us off on the right foot. NRDC's DSM Technical Center is successfully moving forward with the goal of providing the technical and policy assistance needed to take DSM to the next level in China. 

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