Cooling is associated with economic growth, health, wellbeing and productivity of people in hot climates. The growing economy of India is characterised by rising per capita income, rapid urbanisation and increasing heat waves. Yet, the country is marked by low penetration of air-conditioning. Given the situation, addressing the rising cooling requirement is both a challenge as well as an opportunity, which requires synergy in policies and actions not only in meeting the cooling requirement across sectors, but also in making cooling sustainable and accessible to all. Globally, refrigerant-based cooling across buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration and transport are regulated under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the
Cooling also uses a great deal of energy and as per the International Energy Agency (IEA), refrigeration and air conditioning result in 10 per cent of the global CO2 emissions. India has one of the lowest access to cooling across the world, which is reflected in its low per-capita levels of energy consumption for space cooling at 69 kWh, as compared to the world-average of 272 kWh.
As far as the demand side management of cooling energy use is concerned, India follows Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and star-rating scheme for room air conditioners and MEPS for room air conditioners are being systematically ratcheted up. These constructive steps require further strengthening as the cooling demands rise. Therefore, a long-term vision for the optimisation of cooling demand, integration of energy efficiency, refrigerant transitioning efforts and adoption of improved technology options would be a better as compared to treating each component in isolation.
Development of the India:
Cooling Action Plan
Since cooling is required in multiple sectors, the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), with a 20-year perspective starting from 2017-2018 to 2037-2038 involves different government departments and ministries as well as the state governments and urban local bodies. Thus, the implementation framework of ICAP has been an inter-ministerial-government undertaking. ICAP also strives to match energy efficiency with the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) phase-out and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) phase-out schedules along with phasing-out of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in order to reduce economic dislocation and obsolescence cost and take advantage of indigenous production for combined environmental and economic gains.
The ICAP, inter alia, encompasses:
* Passively-cooled building design—deployment of natural and mechanical ventilation;
* Adaptive thermal comfort standards to specify pre-setting of temperatures of air conditioning equipment for commercial built spaces;
* Promoting the use of energy-efficient refrigerant-based appliances as well as not-in-kind technologies;
* Policy interventions for market transformation, including public procurement of energy-efficient RAC appliances and equipment;
* Development of energy efficient and renewable energy based cold chain;
* National skill development programme for training and certification for refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) service technicians to complement transition to energy efficient, low global warning potential refrigerants and
* Focused research and development efforts to foster an innovative ecosystem to support development and deployment of low global warning potential refrigerant alternatives.
The data with respect to cooling requirement generated by the various thematic working groups provide a trend rather than definitive estimates. A separate steering committee with inter-ministerial representation had guided the process and reviewed the documentation prepared for inclusion in the ICAP. The draft was finalised by a high-level committee chaired by the Secretary (EF&CC), subject experts and eminent representatives from think tanks and the industry.
- Cooling Demand: The aggregated nationwide cooling demand, in tonnage of refrigeration (TR), is projected to grow around eight times by 2037-2038 as compared to the 2017-2018 with the building sector showing the most significant growth at nearly 11 times. The cold chain and refrigeration sectors will grow around four times while the transport and air conditioning will grow around five times the 2017-2018 levels.
- Refrigerant Demand: The projected cooling growth leads to a five to eight times increase in the aggregated refrigerant demand by 2037-2038. The intervention scenario suggests that through proactive measures, this total refrigerant demand can be reduced by 25-30 per cent by 2037-2038.
Overview of Chapters
The ICAP has nine chapters which provide:
* An overview of the present cooling requirement;
* Technologies available to cater to cooling requirements;
* Projection of the future cooling requirement, the associated refrigerant demand and energy use under two alternative scenarios—reference scenario and intervention scenario as
* Assumptions for the projections and source of data used for the projections are mentioned at appropriate places; and
* The suggested interventions.
The ICAP includes demand for cooling projected under reference and intervention scenarios. Data analysis and projections for growth have been separately dealt with.
The first chapter introduces a synergistic approach to cooling. Chapter 2 focuses on the technology landscape, discussing the prevalent and evolving technology options for space cooling including refrigerant-based, non-refrigerant based and not-in-kind technologies. Chapter 3 deals with cooling demand projections for space cooling, discussing the existing and upcoming building stock in the country and the top-down estimation of air-conditioning demand, and presenting details of a bottom-up analysis of the stock and growth of cooling technologies, related energy consumption and refrigerant use. Chapter 4 talks about cold chain and refrigeration while Chapter 5 is about air conditioning in the transport sector. Chapter 6 is about the largely unorganised refrigeration and air conditioning service sector. Chapter 7 deals with refrigeration demand and indigenous production. Chapter 8 is about furthering research and development in the innovation ecosystem in India which involves further development of scientific manpower in the area; requisite academic and research and development institutional capacities and support on various facets of cooling including but not limited to refrigerants; cooling equipment, passive building design interventions, not-in-kind technologies and new emerging technologies as well as industry preparedness to assimilate new technologies. Chapter 9 concludes with recommendations and way forward. It presents the short, medium and long-term recommendations for each of the thematic areas, highlighting synergies with existing governmental schemes and programmes. This chapter also outlines an implementation framework for the ICAP, underscoring the need for inter-ministerial collaboration.