Facing the mounting pressure on energy security and increasing environmental concerns about air pollution and climate change, the Chinese government set a mandatory goal of 20% reduction of energy intensity in its 11th Five-Year Plan period (FYP, 2006–2010). In this paper we use Shanxi province to illustrate how policies and measures are implemented in practice at a provincial level as a response to the National FYP issued by the central government. Local policies are described and their effects are analyzed. We compare reported energy saving achievements with our own estimates and conclude that the achievements in Shanxi probably have been substantial since the start of the 11th FYP period. The most important measures taken by provincial and local governments seem to be in the secondary sector, such as Top-200/Top-1000 program and phasing out outdated technologies. However, Shanxi has still a long way to go to achieve satisfactory energy use. Further improvement of energy intensity will require continuing efforts. Although many measures are necessary, improving the energy efficiency in heavy industries and reducing the dependence on these industries should be particularly effective.