The Olympic Games accelerated the development of renewable energy in China, with profound changes to the country’s energy supply structure.
The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau’s strategy focused on diversification of the energy matrix, with strong investments in solar and geothermal energy, as well as the replacement of old coal-burning boilers by clean-energy sources, reducing sulphur emissions.
Natural gas pipelines were expanded as part of the infrastructure improvements, and the natural gas supply was expanded from 1 billion m3 in 2000 to 3.8 billion m3 by 2006. The total length of the city’s gas pipelines reached 11,000 km. As many as 3.5 million households were connected to natural gas in 2006, compared to 1.3 million in 2000.
Energy efficiency improved with the adoption of national standards for energy-saving buildings on a mandatory basis for new constructions. The Olympic venues were used to showcase best practices in renewable energy and energy efficiency. More than 20 per cent of the electricity consumed in all venues was supplied by renewable energy.
Greenpeace cooperated with the Organising Committee to promote the shift to energy-efficient lights in schools. More than 1.5 million lights were installed in 2,000 primary and secondary schools, and 300,000 in government buildings, hotels, restaurants and universities.