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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trends in Energy Efficiency Investments in China and the US


Growth in energy consumption in China has soared over the last three years, 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 has added the entire generating capacity of California or Italy in a single year (2004). In contrast, investment in energy conservation projects has weakened considerably in recent year. This paper examines trends in energy efficiency investment in China and the US. The comparison highlights the potential of energy conservation investment in addressing China's current energy crisis as well as the inadequacy of such investment in China. Finally, the paper outlines a few scenarios for appropriate levels of investment in energy efficiency in China in the future.

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