2011 is the first year of the 12th Five-Year Plan and, as such, it is a crucial year to push forward the work of energy conservation and emissions reduction. Important large-scale energy conservation policies issued in 2011 include Outline of the 12th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of The People's Republic of China (the "Plan") and Notice of the State Council on Issuing the Comprehensive Work Proposal for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (GF (2011) No. 26) (the "Proposal"). These two policies have established strategic objectives for energy conservation during the12th Five-Year Plan in China, and they have also identified the key tasks and direction of energy efficiency programs for energy-using products.
China has established a sound energy efficiency standard system which is mostly targeted on energy-using products and equipment. During the 11th Five-Year Plan period, energy efficiency standards were mainly used to raise the "entry threshold" for product energy efficiency. As such, they played a significant role in eliminating products with high energy consumption and increasing the overall product energy efficiency in the market. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, a "pyramid" of measures will continue raising the top level of energy efficiency for major energy-using products, including combining the concepts of "promoting energy efficient technology applications" and "promoting high efficiency and super-efficient products"; pushing enterprise technology advancement; and speeding up the upgrade and replacement of standards while promoting rapid increases in the level of energy efficiency. In order to achieve the objectives above, the Proposal clearly prioritizes carrying out the development of "top runner" standards for energy-using products and related research.