Energy Conservation Investments: a Comparison Between China and the US
Growth in energy consumption in China has soared from 2001 to 2004, driven largely by a booming economy and heavy investment in infrastructure and housing. In response, China has poured billions of dollars of investment in building power plants—at a rate of one large power plant (1000 MW) per week. In fact, China in 2004 has added the entire generating capacity of California or Spain in a single year. In contrast, investment in energy conservation projects has weakened considerably in recent years. This paper examines trends in energy efficiency investments in China and the US. The comparison highlights the potential of energy conservation investments in addressing China's current energy crisis as well as the inadequacy of such investments in China. Finally, the paper outlines a few scenarios for appropriate levels of investments in energy efficiency in China in the future.