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India Cooling Action Plan Draft Inadequate, Says CSE

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday (September 17) released a draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) during World Ozone Day celebrations.
India is the first country in the world which has come up with a document to address the cooling requirements across sectors and lays down actions which can help reduce such demand.
The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) draft is out in the public domain and opens for comment to which Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) assessed as inadequate.
Goals of India cooling action plan (ICAP)
India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) aims to assess the cooling requirements and the associated refrigerant demand and energy use across sectors in next 20 years. The plan includes developing a research and development innovation ecosystem for indigenous development of alternative technologies.
ICAP draft focuses on skilling of RAC service technicians and suggests interventions in each sector to provide for sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all. It also aims to map the available technologies to cater to the cooling requirement including passive interventions, refrigerant-based technologies, and alternative technologies such as not-in-kind technologies.
MOEFCC sets following goals under ICAP draft
Reduction of cooling demand across sectors by 20 percent to 25 percent by the year 2037-38
Reduction of refrigerant demand by 25 percent to 30 percent by the year 2037-38
Reduction of cooling energy requirements by 25 percent to 40 percent by the year 2037-38
Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by the year 2022-23, in synergy with Skill India Mission
Centre for Science and Environment’s comment on ICAP
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Tuesday, September 18, dismissed the India Cooling Action Plan draft as grossly inadequate and defined it as limited in scope. The body strongly asked for immediate revision of the ICAP document to address the serious gaps which it said if not rectified now can lock in irreversible energy guzzling.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE said that if we are planning to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all, we cannot ignore the need of thermal comfort for 90 per cent of the country’s population, and also the requirements of a range of other services including agricultural cold chains, provision of safe vaccines, and many other services that require cooling to function; reported PTI.
“This lack of planning can completely upset the energy budget of the country,” said Roychowdhury, adding, “At the same time, the ICAP has not indicated the benchmark for thermal comfort that needs to guide energy efficiency measures for all users of active as well as passive cooling.”
ICAP draft based on personal air conditioners market: CSE
While the ICAP aims to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all, its actual intent is myopically focused on only the market for personal air conditioners, ignoring the fact that demand for cooling is driven by people and not by the sale of air conditioners, says CSE analysts.
The CSE said ICAP must capture equity issue, ensure thermal comfort for all without over-dependence on active cooling.
The green body said the ICAP must take note of the fact that about 60 percent of current space cooling energy consumption is by top 10 percent of the population
Over 96 percent of transport cooling energy consumption is due to personal cars (13.5 percent of population) and this small minority skews electricity demand and locks in enormous carbon energy guzzling.
“In Delhi, 25-30 percent of annual energy consumption is because of thermal stress; in peak summer, when energy demand soars, it is as much as 50 per cent of energy consumption,” said CSE.
“When temperature drops, energy consumption in the city drops dramatically – from 6346 MW to 3323 MW (10 degrees Celsius drop leads to 48 per cent demand drop in energy, irrespective of the time of day). This points to the importance of cooling and heating in energy management,” it added.
The body said that ICAP needs immediate overhaul.
It pointed out that India needs thermal comfort defined to guide interventions for energy efficiency in buildings and there is also a need to estimate cooling demand based on thermal comfort definition and not on sales of ACs.
“National building codes should be amended to ensure all buildings are designed in a way that indoor conditions do not get hotter than the national goal for majority of hours in the year using passive design,” CSE said, adding there is also a need for more robust standards, labeling and testing methodology for ACs. – India Today

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