The District Energy in Cities Initiative in India moves to the next phase

ICLEI South Asia has been actively working with UN Environment and other public and private partners under the District Energy in Cities Initiative to undertake rapid assessments on district cooling in the five Indian cities of Bhopal, Coimbatore, Pune, Rajkot and Thane. The rapid assessments have been recently completed and will help national and local governments, policy makers, private sector and financiers to understand the potential of district cooling in India and the barriers to uptake.

The rapid assessments also seek to create a project pipeline for investment and an enabling environment for district cooling market development in India. As a next step, the District Energy in Cities Initiative will use funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to demonstrate a city-level approach to district cooling in India that delivers investments and to design strategies and policies that can be replicated to other cities in India and supported by national and state level stakeholders.

A national workshop was recently organised by the UN Environment, Energy Efficiency Services Limited, GEF, and ICLEI in New Delhi on the 2nd of November, 2017. The intent of the workshop was to present the results of the city assessments, to announce the selection of the pilot city for further feasibility assessment, and launch the next phase of the initiative’s activities in India. The workshop brought together representatives from national and local governments in India as well as national and international experts from district cooling project developers, private sector firms, financing institutions, donor agencies that included the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, International Finance Corporation (IFC), National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) – MNRE, Empower, Danfoss, Thermax, and Tabreed (National Central Cooling Company PJSC) among others.

Deliberations covered the potential for district cooling in India, opportunities for its integration into policy mandates, incentives and programmes such as the Smart Cities Mission, and recommendations towards the next steps to support district cooling development. Representatives from the five project cities discussed project opportunities and potential policy interventions to accelerate district cooling in their cities.

In the chosen pilot city of Thane, the initiative will provide support to deliver a commercially viable district cooling demonstration project, as well as supporting the development of a long-term policy and investment plan for district cooling and trainings. The initiative aims to extend this support to other cities in India such as Rajkot and Pune to create a pipeline of district cooling investments.

The national workshop was followed by a brainstorming session with local stakeholders organised at Thane on the 3rd of November, 2017. This meeting included discussions on potential district cooling projects identified in Thane, and how to best support the development of a bankable district cooling demonstration project in the city. Local stakeholders representing the Thane Municipal Corporation, Tata Consultancy Services, Viviana Mall, Jupiter Hospital, Hiranandani Developers, Korum Mall, ISHRAE-Thane Chapter participated in the meeting along with the initiative partners.

To commence the next phase of activities under the Initiative which includes deep-dive engagement and pre-feasibility assessments, a team of representatives from Carbon Trust and ICLEI South Asia undertook a three-day visit in Thane. The visit included site visits and meetings with stakeholders including the Chief Architect of Hiranandani Developers, General Manager of Jupiter Hospital, MEP Division Head of Korum Mall, and experts of ISHRAE-Thane Chapter to seek specific inputs for sites being considered for potential brownfield and green field district cooling projects in the city. The discussions addressed aspects of reliability of service, economy, timelines and financial model for implementation, and modalities with respect to ownership and execution of district cooling projects. The partners of the initiative will continue working closely with the Thane Municipal Corporation and local stakeholders in Thane city as well as continue to engage with the other project cities in the coming months.

Further information on the District Energy in Cities Initiative can be found here.

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