May 12, 2003
Berkeley Lab Science Beat Berkeley Lab Science Beat
Partnership for an energy efficient China, part 2
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Big energy savings from Chinese standards

"China now has one of the most thorough appliance energy efficiency standard programs in the world," says China Energy Group scientist Jiang Lin. "We estimate that in 2010, the standards and labels for refrigerators, room air conditioners, clothes washers, and color televisions will save 33.5 terawatt-hours" -- trillions of watt-hours or TWh -- "about nine percent of forecast residential electricity use in 2010, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3 million tons of carbon. The cumulative savings through 2010 will be 164 TWh and 56 million tons of carbon."

"The savings are a remarkable achievement," he continues. "The U.S. standards program was started earlier, covers more products, and is the most successful in the world so far. By 2010, it will reduce emissions annually by 13.6 million tons of carbon. In just a few years, China has put in place a program that will catch up in greenhouse gas reductions to the best program in the world by 2010."

In 1998, the government established the China Certification Center for Energy Conservation Products, a quasigovernmental agency that was established to administer a voluntary endorsement energy-labeling program. With technical assistance from Berkeley Lab, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Energy Star program, the agency has developed a voluntary labeling program to help inform Chinese consumers which products are the most energy efficient, just as the Energy Star label does for American consumers.

Recently, Lin, Fridley, and other Berkeley Lab researchers convinced the CECP to harmonize their criteria for labeling a product "energy efficient" using the Energy Star criteria. This will help ease trade relationships, making it easier to label the efficiency of Chinese and U.S.–made products in both markets.

How to find new opportunities

"Some of our most important work has been to strengthen institutional capabilities in China," says Levine. Because so much remains to be learned about where the energy efficiency opportunities are, Chinese officials worked with Berkeley Lab researchers and U.S. officials to secure funding from the Global Environmental Facility to begin a program that will undertake a broad range of end-use energy efficiency projects in China.

In October 2002, the GEF announced it would fund this as a three-year, $20 million program, China's End-Use Energy Efficiency Program (EUEP). Says Levine, who worked on writing the proposal and securing its acceptance, "The GEF is considering extending this into a 12-year program, with funding over this period that could reach $100 million. We played a major role in helping design this program, which will focus on finding opportunities and implementing energy efficiency in buildings and industrial processes."

China Energy Group researchers also played a role in helping launch and working with the China Sustainable Energy Program, (CSEP) which supports China's policy efforts to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy by linking Chinese officials with researchers in these fields throughout the world. CSEP is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Energy Foundation.

Cooperation with China on research

Berkeley Lab's China researchers can claim a number of firsts in China energy research. Their China Energy Data Book, first published in 1992 and now in its 5th version, was the first thorough study of Chinese energy production and consumption. It is available for download from the group's website. "We have 40,000 data points from Chinese sources," says China Group scientist Jonathan Sinton, "Nothing like this exists in Chinese." Sinton is also working with the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics to perform the first nationwide residential energy-consumption survey in China.

Databooks and CDs detail energy use in China.

In 1993, Levine and Berkeley Lab researchers helped China to establish a new market-oriented organization to promote energy efficiency, the Beijing Energy Efficiency Center (BECon). The Center was established with the help of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency. Staff members of BECon, as well as staff of other research institutes and universities, have been frequent visitors to Berkeley Lab, receiving training in energy standards and labeling development, and energy analysis methodologies.

China Group researchers are working with BECon to generate a major scenario study of energy use and carbon emissions in China. The study is expected to be published later this year. "The scenarios look at different energy-use futures for China through the year 2020, assuming different energy development and efficiency policies" says Sinton, "This study will help Chinese leaders better understand possible future directions. It was modeled on the Clean Energy Futures study of the United States performed by five national laboratories [including Berkeley Lab] in 2000."

With both energy use and interest in energy efficiency on the increase in China, it's clear that the opportunities for cooperation between China and Berkeley Lab will continue to grow.

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