California is heading toward establishing regulations on HFC emissions that may include setting a limit of 150 for the global warming potential of new refrigeration equipment.
But in the meantime, the state is expected to confirm as early as July $20 million for a refrigerant incentive programme that will be aimed at businesses “that want to install low-GWP refrigeration equipment ahead of any regulation to do so,” said Glenn Gallagher, air pollution specialist for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), during a panel discussion on utilities and incentives at ATMOsphere America 2016 in Chicago.
Once the budget is finalised, CARB will gather public comment on how the funding should be used. It will start soliciting applications for award grants in late 2016 or early 2017.
The funding will go primarily to small retail food businesses, particularly in disadvantaged communities, though any business or non-profit can apply. Other applications such as air conditioning will be considered.
Gallagher said CARB is open to help from California utilities in identifying recipients for funding and even applying on behalf of businesses. “We’re very excited about possible grants from another source,” said Paul Delaney, senior engineer for Southern California Edison, a participant in the panel discussion.
The programme is technology-neutral, but is geared toward new systems using refrigerants with a GWP of under 150, as well as retrofits of existing equipment that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stand-alone refrigeration units that use hydrocarbon refrigerants.
CARB plans to apply for a fresh $20 million annually over five years for a total of $100 million, said Gallagher.
He noted that unlike utility incentives that are focused on energy efficiency, the refrigerant incentive programme is about the refrigerant’s GWP. “This is not electricity reduction; it’s greenhouse gas emission reduction.”