China's state planner has ordered provinces to develop energy-efficiency plans for entities accounting for about 70% of consumption and carbon emissions by 2025-end, according to a notice, to meet targets that have been falling short.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Tuesday the plan will cover by the end of 2025 entities consuming at least 5,000 metric tons standard coal equivalent, down from 10,000 tons outlined for 2024.

There are about 20,000 of these entities nationally and all of them will be covered by inspections by the end of 2025, according to the notice.

In 2024, it wants provinces to inspect 60% of entities with yearly consumption of 10,000 tons.

"It is certainly an attempt to catch up on the energy intensity target," said Yao Zhe, global policy advisor for Greenpeace East Asia in Beijing.

China has set a target to cut its energy intensity, or the amount of energy used per unit of economic growth, by 2.5% in 2024, after missing its 2% goal last year.

But how much the new plan can contribute to the target will depend on energy-intensity budgets given to consumers based on the audits, Yao said.

And, improving energy intensity requires not just technical upgrades but also changes in the underlying structure of China's economy, Yao added.

"This policy addresses the former, but increasingly, it is the slow progress on the latter that prevents a higher figure of energy intensity improvement," Yao said.

Analysts have said China is well behind on its goal to cut energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon intensity by 18% between 2021 and 2025. These are interim targets supporting China's goal to become carbon neutral by 2060.

Energy intensity fell just 0.5% in 2023, and China also missed last year's target to cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP. (Reporting by Colleen Howe; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)