The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has launched what officials are calling "a first-of-its-kind incentive program designed to promote the adoption of a new generation of natural refrigerants that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
SMUD’s Pilot Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program offers customers incentives up to $150,000 to help local businesses, like grocery stores and food processors, choose natural refrigerants when upgrading equipment or selecting equipment for new facilities. The natural refrigerants include ammonia, CO2, or hydrocarbon. According to information released by SMUD, the incentive will also provide the utility's energy experts with opportunities to research how natural refrigerant systems perform under real world conditions in SMUD’s service territory and how they impact electricity demand.
"This new incentive will help reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and help develop and promote new refrigerant technologies that can provide a number of benefits to our customers and our community," said Nicole Howard, SMUD’s chief customer officer.
Older refrigerants believed to do damage the Earth’s ozone layer have been mostly phased out, but SMUD officials are saying many new man-made refrigerants are composed of highly potent greenhouse gases. The SMUD experts are estimating emissions in Sacramento County from conventional refrigerants were approximately 440,000 metric tons carbon-dioxide equivalent in 2015. Without action, these emissions are projected to rise to over 840,000 metric tons per year by 2050.