Ten Key Projects
Policy measure

In 2004, China launched its Ten Key Projects initiative, earmarking roughly USD 1 billion to provide financial incentives for industry to pursue a wide range of energy saving projects (coal industrial boilers or kilns, waste heat recovery/waste power recovery, petrochemical conservation or substitution, electrical machinery energy saving system and energy system optimization). The aim of the Ten Key Projects is to save the equivalent of some 250 million metric tonnes of coal (Mtce), preventing emissions of over 600 million tonnes of CO2. The greatest savings are expected as a result of efforts to renovate coal-fired industrial boilers, build combined heat and power systems in urban areas, the deployment of new technologies and processes that save oil, and the building of more energy efficient residential and commercial spaces (WRI, 2009).

In the first three years of China’s 11th Five-Year Plan, total investments from the central budget and central fiscal funding (China’s Ministry of Finance) to support the Ten Key Projects was around RMB 15 billion (Xu, 2009).


To qualify for the funding enterprises must apply to one of 20 technical assistance centres established by the government. Moreover, “applicants have to undergo a comprehensive energy audit, demonstrate that they have adequate accounting and management systems in place, and show that the project will save at least the equivalent of 10,000 mtce. Applicants get 60% of the project’s capital costs upfront – but the remaining 40% is not provided until after the technology is installed and actual energy savings are evaluated. If independent reviewers conclude that the project is successful, applicants can also receive financial awards linked to the amount of energy saved. ” (WRI, 2009)

No identified challenges.

The initial goal of the project was to reach total energy savings of 0.1 billion tce within the five-year implementation period. In 2007, officials approved 546 projects and in 2008 received more than 1,200 applications (WRI, 2009).

The savings of the Ten Key Projects from 2006-2008 is estimated at around 150 Mtce (Lv, 2009; Cai, 2009).

The following outcomes have been identified in different sub-sectors or provinces:

  • NDRC reported that 136 sub-projects were supported by central budget funding in waste heat and waste pressure utilization, energy system optimization and building energy conservation with estimated energy savings of 5.2 Mtce (NDRC, 2008c).

  • In Shanghai, there were 243 energy conservation projects in 2007 with a total investment of RMB 3 billion (USD 439 million). The savings were estimated at about 870,000 tce, which were largely based on energy system optimization, waste heat and waste pressure utilization and renovation of coal-fired industrial boilers (furnaces) (NDRC, 2007f).

  • Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, has received RMB 110 million (USD 16 million) from both central and provincial energy conservation funding. Of this amount, RMB 25.7 million was to be primarily used to support building energy efficiency, green lighting and other Ten Key Projects in 2009, and to encourage key energy using companies to implement coal saving, electricity saving, waste heat utilization and industrial boiler renovation projects (Shaanxi Provincial Office, 2009).

  • Hebei Province has set targets for their Ten Key Projects: by the end of 2010, to build the capability to save 23 Mtce annually through 62 key energy saving projects (Hebei Provincial Government, 2008).

  • Weifang City of Shandong Province implemented 66 projects in 2007, with a total investment of RMB 8.73 billion (USD 1.28 billion). By June 2008, 26 projects had been completed with an energy saving capacity of 173,000 tce per year (Weifang News, 2008). 


WRI (World Resource Institute), 2009.  ChinaFAQs: The Network for Climate and Energy Information. Washington, DC. Available at:  www.chinafaqs.org/files/chinainfo/ChinaFAQs_China%27s_Ten_Key_Energy_Efficiency_Projects.pdf.

Lv, Wenbin, 2009. Personal communication with Lv Wenbin, NDRC, May 24, 2009.

Cai Zhihua, 2009. Interview with Cai Zhihua, Energy Saving Department, Department of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection, NDRC, May 6, 2009.

Xu Kexin, 2009. Deputy Department Head of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection of National Development and Reform Commission He Bingguang said Ten Key Energy-Conservation Projects Need an Investment of 400 Billion RMB in the Next Two Years. Reported by First Financial Daily, April 17, 2009. Available at: http://energy.people.com.cn/GB/9146125.html.