|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Energy efficiency investments are essential to curb demand growth and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The International Energy Agency projects that energy efficiency improvements could account for 70% of the reduction in global energy demand in 2035. However, without demonstrating best available technologies, stronger policies and more innovative financing mechanisms, the agency warns that more than half of the economic potential may remain untapped. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is the world's largest energy consumer accounting for nearly 20% of global energy consumption. Its rapid energy consumption growth over the past 20 years was and continues to be mainly driven by industrial energy demand growth, which accounted for 71% of the total energy consumption in 2010. The chemical industry is among the PRC's (i) largest industrial energy users, and (ii) most energy-intensive industries. It alone consumed 361.2 million ton of coal equivalent (tce) in 2010, accounting for about 16% of industrial energy use. Compared to the PRC's average energy intensity of 1.034 tce per CNY10,000 of gross domestic product, ChemChina's energy intensity was 2.66 in 2010.
During the Eleventh Five-Year-Plan, 2006 2010, the PRC successfully targeted energy-intensive industries to realize energy savings and emission reduction through (i) mandating energy savings target on 1,000 key energy consuming plants, (ii) subsidizing energy efficiency investments, (iii) strengthening capacity of banks and ESCOs by multiple multilateral and bilateral cooperation projects, and (iv) undertaking other complementary administrative measures. These policy measures were continued, further strengthened and expanded to 10,000 key industries in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 2011 2015. However, important market barriers still remain in energy-intensive industries such as chemical industry, which continues to slow down or prevent investment in large-scale, innovative technology energy efficiency and emission reduction retrofits through the market. These barriers include (i) limited market-based incentives to implement such projects; (ii) lack of knowledge by enterprises about the best available technologies, combined with their focus on capacity expansion; (iii) inadequate capacity in commercial banks in evaluating risks and benefits of such retrofit projects combined with the projects' insufficient collateral value; and (iv) the underdevelopment of the industry-specific ESCO that can plan and implement such projects. To address these barriers and to enhance the overall impact of the proposed project, it is essential to develop and test new and innovative solutions to financing such projects and strengthen the ESCO model.
The project is directly relevant to achieve the objectives of the PRC's 12th plan for energy saving and emission reduction which targets to reduce (i) energy intensity by 16%, (ii) carbon intensity by 17%, and (iii) sulfur dioxide by 8% and nitrogen oxides by 10% from 2010 levels by 2015. It has a particular good fit with major tasks emphasized in the 12th plan of (i) strengthening industrial energy saving, and (ii) advancing emission reduction of major pollutants in key industries. The project is also consistent with the ADB's country partnership strategy, 2011 2015 for the PRC, which is closely aligned to the 12th plan priorities to support environmentally sustainable growth by demonstrating cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies.
The proposed first two subprojects include (i) demonstration of a new technology by Dezhou Shihua Chemical Co., Ltd. (DSC) to retrofit its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production facility to reduce energy consumption by 40% and eliminate the use of mercury as a catalyst; and (ii) retrofitting the caustic soda production chain of Haohua Yuhang Chemical Co. Ltd. (HYC) with the current state-of-the-art technology that will consume 30% less energy. As per the International Energy Agency, caustic soda and PVC production consumes about two-thirds of total primary energy in the chemical industry worldwide. By targeting these two energy-intensive production processes, the project aims for larger impact on energy efficiency and emission reductions in chemical industry in the PRC. Similarly, by mainstreaming ESCO in the project's structure, the project will address a key barrier that has so far prevented industry-specific ESCO participation in energy efficiency retrofits in energy-intensive industries in the PRC. If proven successful, it may unleash ESCO model across energy-intensive industries.