How Can We Cool India Faster?
Cooling is central to economic development. As India faces record-breaking temperatures, how can the country meet increasing cooling demand, while simultaneously reducing energy intensity and mitigating potential environmental impacts? This emerged as the key question in a conference that CLASP hosted to explore how implementation of India’s Cooling Action Plan could be accelerated.
India, with its predominantly tropical climate, is experiencing rising temperatures along with population growth and rapid urbanization, which are contributing to a steep increase in cooling demand. As temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, there will be an increase in cooling demand and greenhouse gas emissions.
To meet a growing cooling demand in a sustainable manner, India set a precedent with the launch of a comprehensive National Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) in 2019. ICAP aimed to lower cooling needs across various industries by 20-25% and decrease the energy required for cooling by 25-40% by 2037-38. The plan prioritizes the deployment of a robust mix of energy-efficient cooling technologies and environment-friendly refrigerants to meet growing cooling requirements.
In December 2022, CLASP hosted a workshop to convene key industry representatives, government agencies, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to explore how ICAP implementation could be accelerated.
Abhay Bakre, Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), delivered the keynote address and highlighted the role of efficient cooling devices in reducing peak energy demand. He also stressed on the need to transition to the best available cooling technologies .
Arijit Sengupta, Director of BEE, highlighted key action areas and initiatives of BEE in implementing ICAP. These include efficiency policies and programs across space cooling in buildings, cold chain and refrigeration and transport air conditioning.
“India plays a leadership role globally in setting the cooling agenda. Dramatic climate changes demonstrate the critical role cooling appliances play in keeping economies healthy and productive,” said CLASP’s CEO, Christine Egan. “The ICAP is both a challenge and an opportunity for India to address rising cooling needs through policy and coordinated action.”
Some of the key takeaways from the workshop include:
- Representatives from Energy Efficiency Services Limited, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Manufacturers Association, United Nations Environment Program and Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association discussed the need to create incentives programs for utilities/consumers to transform the market towards efficient cooling appliances.
- Civil society organisations (CSOs) play an important role in accelerating ICAP implementation. Representatives from AEEE, Prayas (Energy Group), Consumer Voice, NRDC, and CLASP discussed the need to improve the availability of energy efficiency best practices, operation and maintenance guidelines in local languages.
- The importance of enhancing communication and connecting with people to showcase the monetary benefits of using efficient (labelled) appliances to change consumer behaviour.
“The workshop emphasized the importance of collaboration and coordination among diverse stakeholders to achieve ICAP targets,” explains Bishal Thapa, CLASP’s Senior Director. “It is clear that the ICAP is a critical step towards reducing energy consumption, protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development.”