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How one project has transformed Thai cooling sector, pushing climate-friendly technologies

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The Thailand Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (RAC NAMA) has successfully supported Thailand’s energy savings and climate change targets through the introduction of climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling technologies since 2016.

RAC NAMA has assisted 10 domestic producers in moving towards the production of cooling equipment that is both more modern and energy efficient, the project said.

Through this intervention, more than 150,000 green cooling units have been produced for the domestic and export markets, contributing to 350,000 carbon dioxide equivalence per tonne of greenhouse gas mitigation.

In the commercial refrigeration sector, it is projected that the cooling units will attain 90 per cent of the domestic market reach in the next three years.

RAC NAMA said it has built the necessary training infrastructure for service technicians by organising training of trainers courses for 222 head technicians and chief trainers from the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec), the Department of Skill Development (DSD) and partner producers. They are expected to pass on the knowledge to their peers, as well as establish eight training centres nationwide.

To prepare the service sector for the changing requirements and safety standards related to natural refrigerant technology, RAC NAMA said it has upgraded testing facilities to meet increasing demand for product testing.

RAC NAMA said it has also modernised policy frameworks, coordinated support, developed the expertise and resources of private and public institutions, and leveraged private and public financing to bridge prevailing investment gaps. Success stories from the implementation of the RAC NAMA project were summarised and disseminated at a closing webinar, along with a presentation on future strategies, to representatives from Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep), the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the Department of Industrial Works, DSD, Ovec, the Electrical and Electronics Institute, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Industrial Standards Institute, and Thailand International Cooperation Agency.

In cooperation with ONEP, DEDE, Egat and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, RAC NAMA said it has facilitated a shift away from the production and use of fluorinated refrigerants due to their high global warming potential (GWP), in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, supporting Thailand on its way to becoming a low-carbon society.

The use of natural refrigerants is promoted, so-called green cooling, since they are substances that exist naturally in the environment and do not harm the ozone layer. They also come with zero ozone depletion potential and very low GWP.

Raweewan Bhuridej, secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, said: “Nowadays, the use of refrigeration and air-conditioning [RAC] technologies accounts for approximately 50 per cent of electricity consumed in Thailand, with the RAC sector one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters. Therefore, improving technology is an important factor in reducing global warming and helping Thailand to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions according to the Nationally Determined Contribution [NDC].

"The RAC NAMA project is the country’s most significant climate action in the cooling sector and has greatly contributed to our NDC effort. I would like to thank especially the NAMA Facility, through the German and British governments, for financing the RAC NAMA project, transferring knowhow and fostering international cooperation. I look forward to further conserving our climate and environment together.”

How one project has transformed Thai cooling sector, pushing climate-friendly technologies

Philipp Pischke, director of the Thailand RAC NAMA, GIZ, said: “Our project targeted our intervention through policy, technical and financial considerations, with respect to both the demand and supply sides and hence a continuous cooperation with the RAC industry and its end-users. Over the past five years, we have supported responsible ministries and agencies to define safety standards and relevant regulations in line with international best practices, demonstrated best practices of energy performance standards, labels and other incentive schemes, established a neasurement, reporting and verification system for the RAC sector to serve the country’s reporting obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, assisted technology transfer and adoption to local producers, and increased the demand for green cooling products by setting up financial incentive schemes which increase the attractiveness for consumers in Thailand.

"All of the positive results from the implementation, especially a growing alliance for green cooling technologies in Thailand, require a lot of convincing and many joint efforts, and I would like to extend my thanks to all the partners that have made green cooling happen and RAC NAMA a success.”

How one project has transformed Thai cooling sector, pushing climate-friendly technologies

Mrs. Somjai Bunnag, director of Project Environment Division, Egat, stated: “In December 2017, Egat assumed responsibility for managing the RAC NAMA Fund, with a total budget of 8.3 million euros [approximately THB300 million], on behalf of the Thai government. A number of financial instruments have been defined for the whole demand and supply chain, as well as the service sector to incentivise producers in the switch to natural refrigerant products, boost consumers’ demand for these new products and improve the skills of technicians and the capacities of testing institutes to serve the growing demand over the long term.

“Egat is proud to have played a role in pioneering Thailand’s first climate finance project and initiating the sector-wide transition to green cooling technologies. Egat will build upon these successes and utilise the experience and knowledge gained from the implementation of the RAC NAMA Fund to manage the new Cooling Innovation Fund [CIF], under the ownership of Egat, to further promote sustainable innovation and market transformation to climate-friendly and energy efficient cooling technologies using natural refrigerants.

"With a funding of approximately THB180 million, the CIF is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2021.”

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is owned by the German government and has operations around the globe.

How one project has transformed Thai cooling sector, pushing climate-friendly technologies

Published : June 15, 2021

By : The Nation