Business / Economy

Urbanization puts added pressure on energy

By Du Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-18 09:53

Delegates at symposium on efficiency express fears and hopes for industry

The nation's ongoing urbanization process will create both challenges and opportunities for the country's energy-supply sector, delegates at a major Beijing symposium on energy efficiency and sustainability have heard.

Energy efficiency in China is still low compared with developed countries such as the United States and Japan, meaning there is still huge room for improvement, according to Joe-Tao Zhou, China president of power management firm Eaton Corp, which co-hosted the event.

Headquartered in the US state of Ohio, Eaton has been investing heavily in China in an effort to integrate sustainability into its businesses structure here, said Zhou.

During the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Urbanization Symposium, co-hosted by China Southern Power Grid Energy Co Ltd, energy leaders from State-owned, private and foreign companies shared their worries and thoughts on the country's carbon emission reduction efforts and sustainable growth.

"We cannot force a company to realize sustainability and cut emissions by sacrificing profits. But companies like us can provide solutions to help other industries to be kinder on the environment without losing money," Zhou said.

"Sustainability is not a charity. Instead, it should create both environmental and financial value."

Eaton claims to provide power systems that can help buses and cars, for instance, save fuel without losing speed and horsepower.

It also works with the aviation, manufacturing and power generation sectors to cut emissions and improve efficiency through the innovative use of technology.

"Eaton is able to meet these challenges by providing solutions for them," Zhou said.

Ren Zhiqing, vice-president of ENN Intelligent Energy Group, a privately owned energy supply network company based in Hebei province, said China's traditional energy supply system-which relied on fossil fuels-cannot meet the requirements of the current urbanization process, making renewable, low-emission energy sources such as photovoltaic solar and wind power even more important in future.

"So China needs to build up a larger network of distributed energy suppliers able to deliver this growing demand," he said.

"Increasing use of solar and wind will be beneficial to the whole country's environment."

ENN has built several pilot projects in southern China, aimed at meeting the needs of both energy users and producers using one overall system that can cut emissions and raise efficiency, according to Ren.

Zhou Zhizhu, general manager of co-host China Southern Power Grid, said domestic evaluation standards on energy-saving technologies are still not clear enough, which makes it hard for improvements to be designed or carried out.

In addition, financing remains a problem, particularly for small-scale companies.

"It is hard for smaller firms to get bank loans, for instance, for carbon emission-reduction projects, putting pressure on SOEs like us or other institutions, to offer them help."

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