SEAD Study Finds Super-Efficient Air Conditioners Could Avoid Over 100 Power Plants


I wanted to bring your attention to a new assessment commissioned by the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative that finds deploying super-efficient air conditioners (ACs) could significantly reduce energy use by 2020 in the countries studied. Conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Navigant Consulting, the Cooling the Planet: Opportunities for Deployment of Super-efficient  Room Air Conditioners study shows that these savings can be achieved using currently available technology.

The study is available here:

Using the best technology that’s already available can significantly improve energy efficiency—reducing energy use by 35% to 50% compared to the market average-and potentially avoid the need for over 100 medium-sized (500-megawatt) power plants. Using technology that is also cost effective—meaning the electricity savings over the lifetime of the AC unit would pay for any additional cost—can reduce energy use by 20% to 30%. Adopting AC technology that is both cost-effective and more energy-efficient could save more than 192 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr) by 2020—the same amount of energy produced by 64 medium-sized power plants.

The study is the basis for a new strategy being developed by the SEAD initiative to address the fast-growing electricity demand from room air conditioners in rapidly growing economies. In India, China, and Brazil alone, electricity demand to power room air conditioners is expected to equal the output of five Three Gorges Dams by 2020—more than 500 TWh/yr.

The report estimates the total amount of energy that could be saved in each country and for all of the studied countries combined. The eleven economies studied include those currently dominating the sales of room air conditioners—China, India, Brazil, Japan, and the European Union.

The study’s landmark findings could have a significant impact on energy efficiency strategies for countries such as India and China as they attempt to cope with the impacts of rapidly increasing electricity demand and the capacity required to meet that demand and address peak load issues.