EF China News

Moving On from the Energy Foundation China After 20 Years

December 24, 2018

(Photo courtesy Tim Porter)

China has made great progress on clean air and clean energy over the last 20 years and I’m so proud Energy Foundation China played our small part in supporting these gains. China is now the global leader in manufacturing and markets for clean technologies like wind, solar, and electric vehicles. China can show the world how to achieve a prosperous, low-carbon economic development path. Blue sky and prosperity, now, and for future generations is in our reach.

With great pride, and no small amount of sadness, it is time for me to move on and make room for a new leader at EF China. It has been an honor and a challenge to build Energy Foundation China since 1999. Especially, it is my great honor to partner with so many talented Chinese colleagues, from our high-level Policy Advisory Council, to our Dialogue Partners Network, to the hundreds of EF China grantees and the many Governors and Mayors I have had the chance to meet. Thank you!

It was hard to imagine 20 years ago, but the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, who founded EF China, made a bet that future of China would be bright blue sky. They invested $US 25 million and Energy Foundation China opened our Beijing office. Our starting goal was to support Chinese leadership’s clean air and clean energy goals by sharing global best practice policies and by supporting top Chinese experts.

After 20 years, we can truly say our founders’ big bet has paid. China is now a global leader on clean energy and is on track to achieve ambitious goals on clean air, climate mitigation, and clean energy adoption. EF China can proudly say we have provided over $US 300 million in support to over 2739 clean energy projects around China over the past 20 years.

My deepest thanks, as well, to China’s leaders. I will remember always the high honor of receiving the China Friendship Award in the Great Hall of the People in 2014. While I won’t be the CEO of EF China anymore, I will continue to help China achieve low-carbon prosperity in every way I can. I believe the world can solve the energy and climate problem and China can play a leadership role in defining a prosperous economic path where jobs, economic growth, blue skies, and low carbon all advance together. We have momentum; we see the signs in the progress made so far.


Our job at EF China is to build on that momentum—and accelerate it. With the strong leadership of EF China’s new President, Professor Zou Ji, and with the continued support of our primary funding partners—Packard Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation—I’m confident I leave the Energy Foundation China well-positioned to continue this fight. We have committed funders, strong governance on the board of directors, and deep expertise on our leadership team.

Let me close with special thanks to Qu Geping, Former Chairman, Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee of the 8th and 9th National People’s Cogress, who encouraged us from the start, to Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative on Climate Change, whose leadership will be well-remembered in the global history books, and to my old and new friends on the Policy Advisory Council and Dialogue Partners advisory groups. It is my great pleasure to learn so much from you over the years. We would not have accomplished so much without your advice, partnership, leadership, tenacity, and good humor.

I am not leaving the push for clean air and low-carbon energy. Starting in 2019, I will be working from a new consulting platform, based in San Francisco, focused on energy, climate and water challenges. I’m still on the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. I’m committed to working with all of you to bring blue skies and clean economic development to China, to protect our beautiful planet, and to create a clean and prosperous future for my two daughters and for all generations ahead.

I’m not saying goodbye; instead, I’ll close with what I often said at Energy Foundation China: “Full speed ahead.” I look forward to continuing our efforts to build a better world.

Eric Heitz,
CEO and Co-Founder, The Energy Foundation


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