India to see 15-fold jump in demand for power to cool homes, says IEA report

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

India and S-E Asia will account for the largest share in CO 2 emissions from air conditioning | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that India will lead the world in terms of the power consumed for residential cooling. The agency estimates that India’s cooling-related energy demand will soar from 90 terawatt hour in 2016 to 1,350 terawatt hour (TWh) in 2050 — a 15-fold increase.

“The total space-cooling output capacity of residential air conditioners worldwide increases in line with the number of units brought into service over the projection period, growing from around 6200 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 to nearly 23000 GW in 2050,” the IEA has said in its report titled ‘The Future of Cooling Opportunities for Energy-efficient Air Conditioning’. This is in line with nearer term estimates from industry watchers back home. In April, Motilal Oswal, in a report said, “With the Indian Meteorological Division forecasting above-normal temperatures in the current summer season across most parts of the country, we expect continued strong momentum in room AC sales.” Highlighting the potential demand in urban areas, Motilal Oswal said, “AC penetration remains very low at 10 per cent. There are 9.1 million households with washing machines and/or refrigerators but no ACs. Thus, as more households install ACs going forward, demand could reach 18-48 million (which is equal to 3-8 years of annual industry AC sales) and penetration levels could increase significantly from current low levels of 10 per cent in urban India.”

A much higher energy consumption may even push back India’s efforts to cut emissions. According to the IEA, India and South-East Asia will account for the largest share in CO2 emissions from air conditioning, due to demand growth and reliance on coal-fired generation.

“The share of space cooling in total CO2 emissions rises in almost all countries. The increase is largest in India, where it grows from just over 4 per cent in 2016 to more than 10 per cent in 2050,” the IEA adds.

But, there are measures already in place to lower the power consumption required for cooling. In India, the Energy Conservation Building Code 2017 has ample provisions to lower energy requirements. Executive Chairman and Founder, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy, Satish Kumar, said, “The Green House gas emissions due to increased adoption and use of air conditioners can be mitigated if there is a push to ensure better compliance with ECBC at the design approval stage. Energy consumption can further be improved by requiring energy consumption data be publicly disclosed as some green building norms require.”

He further said, there must also be emphasis on procurement of 5-star labelled refrigerators and air conditioners (RACs) in government buildings and awareness campaign to explain the benefits or more energy efficient RACs. Bulk procurement or demand aggregation is another powerful market mechanism that can help in bringing down the price of energy-efficient appliances.

Published on May 17, 2018
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