Avoiding 100 New Power Plants by Increasing Efficiency of Room Air Conditioners in India: Opportunities and Challenges

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Electricity demand for room ACs is growing very rapidly in emerging economies such as India. We estimate the electricity demand from room ACs in 2030 in India considering factors such as weather and income growth using market data on penetration of ACs in different income classes and climatic regions. We discuss the status of the current standards, labels, and incentive programs to improve the efficiency of room ACs in these markets and assess the potential for further large improvements in efficiency and find that efficiency can be improved by over 40% cost effectively. The total potential energy savings from Room AC efficiency improvement in India using the best available technology will reach over 118 TWh in 2030; potential peak demand saving is found to be 60 GW by 2030. This is equivalent to avoiding 120 new coal fired power plants of 500 MW each. We discuss policy options to complement, expand and improve the ongoing programs to capture this large potential.

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