Minister Chen speaks with Alexander Ochs, Haibing Ma, and Chris Flavin (from left to right).

“China is dedicated to low-carbon and sustainable growth,” said Chen Dawei, head of the visiting Chinese delegation to the Worldwatch Institute. “[The] Institute’s experience and current works on promoting green development are really impressive and I hope collaborative projects can be developed through this meeting,” said Mr. Chen. Back in China, Mr. Chen is the Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). He is leading the Low-Carbon Economy and Sustainable Urban delegation, which consists of more than 25 high level officials from Chinese central, provincial, and municipal governments.

The visit was organized by the Global Educational Institute at Georgetown University. During the meeting, Christopher Flavin, Worldwatch’s president emeritus, delivered the opening remarks and briefly introduced to the Chinese delegation the institute’s history, program layout, and major works. Alexander Ochs, the Director of the Climate and Energy Program, detailed our work in the Caribbean region by highlighting the unique characteristics of our Low-Carbon Energy Roadmap approach. I then provided an overview of our previous and ongoing China-related research works. In addition, I used this opportunity to introduce various ideas of our future China work, including a sketch of our plan to work with different levels of Chinese government.

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China, Chinese delegation, effectiveness, efficiency, green development, green economy, green transition, Low-Carbon Energy Roadmap, MOHURD, renewable energy, sustainable development

Part 1 of this post compared current U.S. state-level policy, investment, and development for renewable energy and energy efficiency, using data from recent reports by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). When reading the two reports, however, it is difficult to ascertain the specific synergies of renewables and efficiency. The answer lies in part in a joint report released by these two organizations in 2007, The Twin Pillars of Sustainable Energy: Synergies between Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology and Policy.

Aerial Image of Sheridan, Oregon

Aerial Image of Sheridan, Oregon - Flickr Creative Commons / Sam Beebe

This report makes a strong case for why renewable energy and energy efficiency should be pursued in tandem. Efficiency measures can greatly decrease the United States’ total energy load so that renewable energy generation can more significantly reduce national dependence on fossil fuels. Efficiency provides primarily short-term and medium-term benefits through energy savings, while renewables provide a more far-reaching, longer-term solution to a sustainable energy future. Without decreasing energy use, renewables will chase elusive production targets. Similarly, rising energy demand will quickly counteract any curtailment of carbon emissions from efficiency measures if low-carbon, renewable energy technologies have not begun to be rapidly deployed.

The report uses the example of a strategic energy development plan for 2020 that encompasses 10 states in the Midwest, where efficiency initiatives could reduce electricity consumption by 28 percent and renewable energy development could account for 22 percent of the region’s electricity supply. This combined efficiency and renewables scenario could cut conventional energy generation by 44 percent in comparison to the business-as-usual forecast. An older collaborative study from the U.S. national energy laboratories, Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future, estimated that a coordinated approach with efficiency measures and renewables could reduce greenhouse gas emissions 47 percent below the reference case by 2020.

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ACEEE, ACORE, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, American Council On Renewable Energy, California, EERS, efficiency, energy efficiency, energy efficiency resource standard, Hawaii, Nevada, PBF, public benefits fund, renewable energy, renewable portfolio standard, renewables, RPS, United States