Voluntary climate mitigation action: Refrigeration and air conditioning technologies (RAC)

Project description

Title: NAMA Facility: Thailand refrigeration and air conditioning NAMA
Commissioned by: NAMA Facility: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Countries: Thailand
Lead executing agency: Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), Ministry of Energy (MoE)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021
 

Context

Energy demand in Thailand’s cooling sector is increasing substantially. Today already, it is estimated that half of the electricity consumed in the country is used to operate refrigeration and air-conditioning appliances. According to the forecasts, demand is set to triple by 2030 if nothing is done. Strong demand for cooling energy during hot weather periods regularly causes electric power supply to peak – a trend that poses a definite challenge for energy suppliers. High energy consumption and the direct emissions generated when using refrigerants with a high global warming potential (GWP) means the cooling sector impacts significantly on the volume of GHG produced. Reducing cooling sector emissions is thus key if Thailand is to reach its ambitious GHG targets.

At the same time, Thailand is a vital hub for national and international companies engaged in the cooling industry. To remain competitive, companies have to adapt to changing demands, some of which are triggered by international agreements. The challenge thus lies in developing and producing highly energy-efficient and climate-friendly technologies.

Objective

Support for climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling technologies triggers the cooling sector’s transformation. National energy-saving and climate protection targets are attainable, thanks in part to international climate funding.

Approach

Cooling technologies on the Thai market vary greatly in terms of their energy efficiency and climate friendliness. Green technologies that use refrigerants with a low GWP have already been introduced for commercial cooling and household appliances. However, the air-conditioning sector still lacks any alternatives.

On the demand side, the project aims to increase RAC energy efficiency and climate friendliness by:

  1. Raising demand for energy-efficient products. It is therefore showcasing best practices to facilitate the design of minimum energy efficiency standards and labels. It is also establishing incentives programmes. Moreover, in cooperation with commercial end users, e.g. supermarkets and hotels, it is developing demonstration projects capable of sensitising people to new RAC technologies and their lower energy consumption levels.
     
  2. Further increasing demand in those segments of the market in which green technologies are already in use. To this end, it aims to create a system of financial incentives that will make this kind of technology more attractive to Thai consumers.

Buoyed by the negotiations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1989), the cooling sector is currently heading in a climate-friendly direction. However, this does entail additional challenges with respect to appliance safety, as the more climate friendly a refrigerant becomes, i.e. if its GWP is reduced, the greater its combustibility. The project therefore advises the respective ministries and institutions on the design of safety standards and rules in keeping with international best practices. Moreover, the project aims to train service technicians to ensure the sector is able to meet various safety requirements, e.g. for handling hydrocarbons, and is thus prepared for foreseeable developments and changes in technology. 

The project is assisting producers to market new climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling products that comply with Thai regulations. Consequently, companies are also receiving financial support for investments in new production lines.