This Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Report was prepared for the proposed Heilongjiang Energy Efficient District Heating Project (the project) in Heilongjiang Province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The proposed project will improve energy efficiency and reduce emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants in Heilongjiang province by introducing energy efficient district heating systems in the nine urban areas. The project has two components: (i) Component A: upgrading primary district heating systems, and (iii) Component B: project management, monitoring, auditing, and knowledge dissemination.
Heating services in a cold climate region such as Heilongjiang, where temperatures can fall below -40°C and the heating season lasts up to six months or more, are essential to meet basic human needs and facilitate modern socioeconomic activities. The heating supplies in most cities of the province depend primarily on coal. Many of the existing heating systems in urban areas are using (i) small, inefficient, polluting boilers without any emission control equipment, and/or (ii) household coal-fired stoves. Air pollution impacts from the existing heating systems have serious health risks to local residents, particularly the poor. Inadequate coverage of centralized district heating in low-income urban areas compels the residents to rely on household coal-fired stoves for their heating during harsh winters. This in turn is a major factor in causing respiratory disease among the province’s populace. Urban pollution from the small boilers and household stoves also worsens urban air pollution and causes significant cumulative impact to the local environment and public health.