Cooling will play a key role in meeting India’s climate targets. The demand for cooling is rising in tandem with the increase in global temperatures. This is especially true for a largely tropical, developing economy like India where population growth and growing incomes are fuelling the demand for cooling. The country’s cooling needs are specifically important in the light of keeping vaccines stable and the economy productive. Already, the continuous increase in the demand for space cooling is adding pressure on the grid. At the same time, the Urban Heat Island effect is being observed in cities and large towns.
In 2019, India became one of the first countries in the world to launch a national roadmap, the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) that recognises cooling as a developmental need linking it with economic growth, health, wellbeing and productivity. The ICAP provides a 20-year perspective (2017-18 to 2037-38) for making cooling sustainable and accessible for all citizens.
There is increasing recognition on the value of clean cooling. But such a transformation at scale requires huge advances in policy innovation, technology and vast amounts of capital. Clear policy initiatives are needed to boost passive building design and low and zero-carbon technologies.
Cooling is essential, but if it is not done efficiently, it could place a major strain on the grid, with cooling energy demand growing as much as 15-fold over the next three decades.
The peak demand from cooling, especially when people come home in the evening and turn on ACs, can put additional pressure on the grid. Technological improvements will be another important step to reducing the impact of space cooling because current cooling technologies use highly potent refrigerants and consume a lot of energy. This could possibly be one of the largest end-use risks to our climate. Moreover, the participation of citizens and businesses is essential to facilitate this momentum.
Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation aims to work collaboratively with policymakers, civil society and practitioners, at the national and sub-national levels, to advance clean cooling solutions. We focus on increasing the uptake of super-efficient refrigeration and space cooling equipment as well as technologies, climate-friendly refrigerants, and integrated solutions that cool people and the planet.