Promoting Energy Efficiency and Cutting Emissions in Rural China

A Successful Partnership Between UNDP, UNIDO, Chinese Government and GEF to Reduce Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions in China's Rural Enterprises

HANGZHOU, China, May 16 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations and the Chinese Government unveiled today a sustainable model to save energy and cut emissions in heavy polluting rural enterprises to help protect the environment. The successful model is hoped to be replicated to upgrade millions of Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs) in China and small medium enterprises (SMEs) globally.

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The six-year project was designed to test out effective models to promote energy efficiency and clean development in TVE's major polluting sectors of cement, brick, coking, and metal casting, notably responsible for one sixth of China's total carbon emissions. Through a barrier removal framework to facilitate access to finance, new technology and markets, the pilot project has successfully upgraded the outdated production methods and inefficient technologies of the rural enterprises to be both environmentally friendly and economically competitive.

To date, the project has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tons per year in nine pilot demonstration sites in Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. The pilot sites were catalytic in spurring the replication in an additional 118 TVEs, thereby helping to save an additional 2 million tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions, while 400 more TVEs have visited the pilots to learn of the model.

"Increasing efforts in energy conservation and emissions reduction are urgently required to respond to global climate change," said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative in China.

"While TVEs account for 30% of China's GDP and play a critical role in poverty alleviation by generating income and creating millions of jobs for the rural poor, they are also characterized by high levels of energy consumption, inefficiency and pollution. With the right incentives and access to finance, we demonstrated that transformation can occur," said Malik.

In particular, the project set up an entrustment loan financing scheme that has provided funding opportunities to encourage rural enterprises to invest their revenues into energy efficient technologies, helping to attract new investments of over US$150 million in the demonstration and 118 replication TVEs.

Furthermore, the project also contributes to improving the livelihood of the local communities. For example, in a pilot cement factory, the waste heat generated during the production process is used to create electricity for its own operations, while transferring the unused electricity to the local power grid.

The results of the US$18.5 million project were introduced at the International Forum on Energy Efficiency in SMEs opened today in Hangzhou, where delegates from 10 countries will participate in an 8-day tour to study the successful results of the program.

The Ministry of Agriculture, UNDP, United Nations Industrial and Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are partners to the project, which will come to a successful end in August.

The number of TVEs stands at around 23 million in China, providing roughly 143 million rural jobs. However, they are also believed to be responsible for over 50% of all pollutants nationally.

UNDP fosters human development to empower women and men to build better lives in China. As the UN's development network, UNDP draws on a world of experience to assist China in developing its own solutions to the country's development challenges. Through partnerships and innovation, UNDP works to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and an equitable Xiao Kang society by reducing poverty, strengthening the rule of law, promoting environmental sustainability, and fighting HIV/AIDS.

Source: United Nations Development Programme