Cooling Egypt: Cost and benefits of room air conditioner efficiency improvement in Egypt

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Egypt is one of the largest countries in the Middle East and North Africa region with a population of a total of 106 million (as of July 2022). Increasing urbanization, population growth, and increasing temperatures will likely continue to drive demand for electricity from air conditioning, with corresponding negative impacts on the peak load, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerant use and energy consumption. Since 2003, Egypt has adopted a standards and labeling program for various appliances, and has improved its room air conditioner (RAC) energy efficiency requirements in 2016 and 2017. However, its market is still dominated by inefficient fixed-speed drive (FSD) RACs due to a price-sensitive market. Seasonal metrics such as Cooling Season Performance Factor (CSPF) measure the energy efficiency of FSD and variable-speed drive (VSD) RACs on the same scale. Leading markets, most notably China, have already adopted a new MEPS in 2020 and 2022, which align largely with the United for Efficiency (U4E) Model Regulations Guidelines. India has also adopted a CSPF metric. Both India and China are now experiencing (1) increased demand and consumption of higher efficiency VSD RACs, as well as (2) a corresponding drop in prices from the economies of scale of production of these higher efficiency RACs. Because China is a leading manufacturer in the global air conditioner (AC) market, its adoption of the model U4E regulations have effectively raised the energy efficiency of the ACs in the global market. To achieve the benefits of taking a similar approach to Egypt’s market, we offer the following recommendations:

1. Adopt a common metric to measure the efficiency of both FSD and VSD RACs
2. Raise the stringency of MEPS to the level of the U4E Model Regulation Guidelines
3. Restructure the labeling program from the “A++” labeling scheme to a simpler A through E or a star-rating program
4. Strengthen the compliance regime governing the Egyptian AC MEPS
5. Assist small and medium AC manufacturers in Egypt to transition manufacturing lines to produce low-cost, high-efficiency VSD RACs.

Adopting these recommendations would reduce Egypt’s electricity consumption to 11 TWh in 2030 and 89 TWh in 2050—with corresponding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions and avoided generation capacity requirements compared to the baseline.

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