This study uses a coupled analysis framework to analyze energy consumption, socioeconomic drivers, and energy policies in Sichuan – the most populous province of China’s rapidly growing western region. The consumption of total energy and three key energy sources over 2002-2016 is decomposed using the logarithmic mean Divisia index method to identify underlying socioeconomic drivers, which are then coupled with a systematic energy policy review to analyze energy-policy interactions. Based on this analysis we suggest the means to optimize low-carbon development in the provincial five-year plan and to integrate the various policies published by different departments. Given the ineffectiveness in provincial economic restructuring for energy reduction, an energy trading system may be more effective and efficient. Over the coming decade, Sichuan also needs to accelerate its adoption of clean energy resources, in addition to further improvements in industrial production efficiency. The trends and policy implications that have been found for Sichuan are instructive for low-carbon development in China overall, and in its expansive western region especially.
Keywords Energy consumption, energy policy Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index, coupled analysis, Sichuan, low-carbon development