Zhejiang, an economically booming province in the country's east, has added energy efficiency to local officials' performance evaluation.
Eleven mayors and 58 county heads in the province have recently been appointed as top officials in charge of local energy savings.
The new indicator is intended to encourage officials to score more by lowering enterprises' costs, promoting technological innovation and adjusting industrial structures for energy and ecological security, Lu Zushan, the province's governor, said.
The coastal province, like most developed areas in the country, is suffering from a sharp conflict between energy shortage and galloping economy.
The average per capita GDP in Zhejiang exceeded US$3,400 in 2005, while 95 percent of its resources relied on imports or transfer from other places in China.
The province now requires the energy consumption per unit of GDP in 2010 to decline by 15 percent from 2005, Lu said.
Some government officials used to be indifferent to energy conservation, as exemplified by their ignorance of energy waste in the government buildings they work in every day.
A survey showed that the daily per capita electricity consumption by the provincial administration center building in 2004 was nine times that of common residential buildings.
The building later upgraded its energy-saving measures, including raising the temperature of air-conditioners, using central heating and power-saving lights.
In addition to Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Gansu provinces and Shanghai have also decided to evaluate officials' performance on energy conservation.
Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan called earlier this month for the establishment of a new evaluation system that relates energy-efficiency to the appraisal of local officials.
Zeng said China's energy waste is worrying.
From 2001 to 2005, the average growth rate of energy consumption was six percentage points higher than the country's economic growth rate.
(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2006)