Understanding and unlocking the potential of District Cooling in Asia Pacific

District cooling has become the 'go green' saviour of the decade.It is considered reliable,effective;cient and has less negative environmental impact in air-conditioning.

In Asia Pacific and Middle East, the shift in the electricity demand and supply balance, has paved the way for deployment of district cooling which allows the utilities and developers to balance power supply and effectively manage usage. District cooling has taken Asia and Middle East by storm and is being promoted as a way of addressing energy shortages, energy demand and global warming. There has been an evaluation of district cooling as a feasible, affordable and attractive option for private developers. The DC industry is gaining traction in South-East Asia. By pooling the demand for cold air in dense urban areas, District Cooling is more cost efficient over the long term than conventional cooling options at the individual building level.

According to a recent report by Asia Development Bank (2013) based on the technical structures, Malaysia has the potential to triple the scale of its district cooling industry to a built-up capacity of 575,000 tonnes of refrigerants from the current approximates of about 200,000-tonne capacity. ADB currently invests more than US$2.3bil (RM7.29bil) per year in clean energy projects across Asia. However, the awareness of district cooling technology is still low level in most of the urbanised Asian countries. Malaysia for instance had district cooling technology 15 years ago in the Petronas Twin towers KLCC complex, yet the number of feasible projects have not seen a considerable rise. The newly opened KLIA 2 airport in Kuala Lumpur is the latest in the league of district cooling initiatives.

In the wake of increasing focus on sustainability and the 'go green' movement across the globe there has been a call to the District Cooling industry to promote this feasible technology. The 3rd Annual Asia Pacific District Cooling Conference, organised by Fleming Gulf Conferences from 26 to 28 August in Kuala Lumpur will focus on the key issue of district cooling becoming a solution. It is essential for every investor to understand barriers and challenges to develop a strong foundation for DC. The Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Malaysia, Y.B Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, will present the honorary address. The keynote address will be presented by Ith Praing the Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Cambodia. This event will bring together distinguished personnel from utilities, ministries, developers, contractors, district cooling providers, consultants, master planner developers and technology leaders to discuss and benchmark crucial issues on how to seize new opportunities and make it effective for the region. District cooling technology is of key importance in buildings and infrastructure projects, as it offers central cooling for multiple buildings effectively while saving about 25 per cent on electrical costs.

There has been an array of new end-users like airports, religious site, sports complexes and religious facilities deploying the DC technology. It is estimated that US$11bil of investment in end-use efficiency is needed by South-East Asian countries by 2020 to meet their national targets for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions. For district cooling systems to be successful, their components must be designed to function as an integrated system. In addition, it is important to understand the functioning of the entire system and the large investments that are involved for the district cooling systems to remain efficient life long. The 3rd annual district cooling event is a must attend event for district cooling providers, master developers, master planners contractors, consultants and government stakeholders. It is crucial to understand the predicament of DC from the perspective of the plant owners and building owners. A range of imminent issues in DC will be addressed at the conference including the growth of DC projects in Asia-Pacific, evaluation of DC as a feasible, affordable and DC becoming an attractive option for private developers. Today the district cooling technology has been seen as a green ray of hope for the development of smart cities and energy efficient technology for large scale projects.

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