Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Demand Management:Curbing Air-conditioning Load

Government has been largely successful in reducing load-shedding by its rather drastic yet required measures.Peak power is very expensive and the peaks should be flattened.The days of no load shedding may never come back in the energy scarcity and high cost regime.It is not Pakistan alone.Many developing countries are afflicted including India,Bangladesh,Egypt etc that I know of.There may be others as well.However Pakistan's problem was and is of crisis proportions and has to be addressed by bringing in more supplies.The role of demand management would ,however,remain.There is one important measure,although of medium term nature,that ought to be introduced,sooner than later.Demand peaks of air-conditioning load must be controlled and discouraged.

One behavioral and attitudinal measure can ,however,cut several hudred MW of peak demand.
Only if our bureaucracy,businessmen,professionals and bankers stop wearing suits and either return to the Qamees-Shalwar regime of ZiaulHaq years or start wearing Bu-shirts with half sleeves.Reportedly Japanese Prime Minister encouraged Bu-Shirts and managed to save quite some load and energy that otherwise goes in chilling the rooms of the well-dressed executive.

The other more significant and technical issue is of very high electrical demand of commercial buildings due to hundreds of packaged air-conditioning units that are installed.Gas-fired absorption chillers and central air-conditioning is being deliberately avoided by builders. A clear cut policy in this respect ought to be announced and enforced.

AC loads of more than 100 KVA should not be allowed in new commercial building and a discouragingly high tariff be introduced on such existing loads.I have come cross a similar policy measure having been taken in Malaysia.High AC load requirements should be either met by self-operated co-generation facilities or where space and scale do not permit,District or neighborhood CHP/CCP facilities ought to be encouraged.In Dubai,Saudi Arabia and Singapore and in some places in the US,Chilled water is being supplied through piping networks from central facilities.In Pakistan's business and commercial areas, there is a scope and potential for installing such facilities.This would curtail demand and save energy as well.Thermal efficiencies of 80% are not impossible in such CCP/CHP facilities .

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