Nigeria is the largest market for cooling products in Africa and one of the fastest-growing in the world. Experts have placed annual sales of mini-split air-conditioners (ACs) in the country at over 0.55 million units which account for about 20 per cent of the total in Africa and Middle Eastern countries.
The market share of inverter ACs is approximately 20 per cent and growing. Most ACs are inefficient and use refrigerants with a high global warming potential (GWP). Nigeria’s population has been growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent yearly since 2000. This trend, combined with improving lifestyle and urbanisation, collectively contributes to a growing demand for ACs and other cooling devices.
An energy audit study conducted by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on public buildings revealed that air conditioners are the major electrical energy consumers in these buildings. Therefore, improving the efficiency of cooling appliances is imperative in reducing energy demand and indeed emissions.
It is against this backdrop that the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) submitted a proposal “Scaling Up Energy-Efficient and Climate-Friendly Cooling in Nigeria’s NDC Revision” under the “NDC Support Facility for Energy-Efficient, Climate-friendly Cooling” advertised by the Clean Cooling Collaborative (CCC) managed and hosted within the Climate Works Foundation (CWF).
Nigeria secured a three-year $498,750 CCC/CWF grant for the proposal for governments of developing countries willing to embed efficient, climate-friendly cooling into their revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for immediate implementation.
Speaking at the project launch in Abuja, Nigeria, the director-general, ECN, Prof. Eli Bala, explained that in line with the funders’ policy, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa office, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is the custodian of the fund from which it will coordinate the project’s implementation and provide technical support for the project implementation while ECN provided office space for the national project management (PMU).
He said the project is aimed at accelerating the transition to climate-friendly, low-global warming potentials (GWP) refrigerants, and energy-efficient ACs in residential, commercial and public buildings, thereby contributing to meeting Nigeria’s climate targets (NDCs) cost-effectively and sustainably.
The ECN boss said the project has specifically facilitated the inclusion of efficient, climate-friendly cooling in Nigeria’s NDCs, and will also provide technical support for its implementation towards meeting its commitment.
“You will recall that in the revised NDCs, Nigeria has set an unconditional greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target of 20 per cent and a conditional target of 47 per cent below the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2030. Under the BAU scenario, Nigeria estimates GHG emissions around 453MtCO2eq 2030; so, the 47 per cent cut would limit GHG emissions to 244 MtCO2eq.
“Also, the revised NDC recognises energy efficiency best practices across all sectors as one of the mitigating priorities measures and has set a conditional target of 2.5 per cent per year reduction in energy intensity, that is, then the energy required to provide a unit GDP. To achieve this, we must look at energy-intensive services. We are aware that space cooling by air-conditioning and cold storage of products such as food, medicines and vaccines by refrigeration is one of the most emissions’-intensive processes due to the type of refrigerant used and the source of electricity consumes, hitherto from high-carbon fuels,” he added.
In her opening remarks, the head of the energy unit, UNEP, Dr. Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun, said the project being implemented by ECN in partnership with UNEP aims to help Nigeria save millions of dollars in electricity bills and reduce millions of GHG annually through the energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling.
According to her, UNEP is supporting such initiatives, projects and programmes in response to the global and development processes like the sustainable development goals of 2030, UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, Paris Agreement on Climate Action and our continental development agenda of the African Union Agenda 2063.
“Particularly, this is in the context of the resource sufficient and climate-resilient systems, in line with the UNEP’s medium-term strategy objectives of climate stability, living in harmony with nature, which is the natural action and pollution-free planet. And UNEP is here at the country level to support the countries in the context of the UN country team and joining forces with different UN agencies to bring it under the coordination of the UN residence coordinators,” she added.
In her remarks, the CCC/CWF, head of policy, Ms. Mirka Della Cava, said the foundation can support Nigeria with this project in its efforts to ramp up and implement important national policies.
She noted that Nigeria is the largest market for cooling in Africa and one of the fastest-growing in the world; as such, the project will support Nigeria as she continues to live with realistic ambition and serve as a model across the continent.
Giving the project brief, the project focal person, Engr. Okon Ekpenyong said the government of Nigeria has partnered with UNEP to implement a programme to accelerate the transition of climate-friendly (low-GWP refrigerant) and energy-efficient ACs in residential, commercial and public buildings, and to link these activities with the revised NDC.
He said the programme aims to increase the ambition of the country’s NDC by incorporating cooling-related targets to reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions via reduced electricity consumption and the related GHG emissions from fossil fuel combustion at power plants and direct GHG emissions by accelerating the transition to lower GWP refrigerants.
Ekpenyong, the director, linkages and consultancy at ECN, said the project’s activities will be focused on reviewing the existing national cooling action plan, the inclusion of cooling targets in the NDC implementation plan, development of policy framework to accelerate the transition to energy-efficient ACs through a national cooling plan, awareness campaigns/sensitisation among the general public and businesses for behavioural change and capacity-building programmes.
Earlier in his goodwill message, an industry player, the area sales manager, Daikin Industries Limited, Vineeth Vijayan, congratulated Nigeria for the project inception, saying Daikin, as a global, responsible cooling systems manufacturer, is honoured to participate in the project in line with its corporate, social and environmental strategy.
“We strongly believe that with your leadership and the expertise of the stakeholders, this project will accelerate the transition towards sustainable cooling with extreme benefits to the society, the national economy and to the environment in Nigeria and beyond,” he added.