The Government has approved the direct granting of subsidies to implement refrigeration facilities based on alternative technologies other than those based on fluorinated gases, that have high global warming potential, in premises engaged in commercial distribution. It is a direct aid plan for a total of 1.5 million euros, funded from the PIMA Frio (Plan for the Environment Promotion), which is sustained through income from emission rights auctions.
These aids will be granted with the goal of replacing the refrigeration facilities with others based on the use of low or no global warming potential (GWP) gases for existing premises, or to implement these in new premises. The Royal Decree rules also require efficient measures to be taken for the implementation of closing doors in the refrigerating furniture.
The ban on fluorinated gases with high global warming potential will come into force as of January 1, 2022
These aids are aimed at boosting the incorporation of efficient and environmentally sustainable systems in the sector, thus anticipating future European restrictions. The ban on fluorinated gases with high global warming potential will come into force as of January 1, 2022, as set out in Regulation No. 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of April 16, 2014. Spain´s warm climate special conditions will require the implementation of more expensive techniques, but “this also represents an opportunity for companies to position themselves in leading technologies”, as reported by the Ministry for Ecological Transition in a statement.
This ban will demand an effort in the conversion of the refrigeration facilities of supermarkets and hypermarkets in Spain. It is estimated that of the 5,000 commercial refrigeration facilities in Spain, just over 100 have refrigeration plants that comply with this ban, that is, only 2% of the total. In any case, it should be clarified that the ban only impacts new refrigeration facilities; existing facilities as well as small format commercial refrigeration facilities may continue to operate until the end of their useful life.
The greenhouse emissions of fluorinated gases accounted for 8.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2017, 2% of the total emissions
The greenhouse emissions of fluorinated gases accounted for approximately 8.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent in year 2017, which represents 2% of the total emissions, according to the preliminary Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (GEI) report. A quarter of these emissions is estimated to be produced in the commercial refrigeration sector due to the leakage of fluorinated gases. It should be noted that the emissions from the use of these gases decreased by 17.2% in 2017 (provisional data) year on year, as a result of the effect of the tax on their use.
GHG reduction in refrigeration facilities
This measure will help the needed transition that Spain must urgently address to meet the climate change and energy challenges. Within the distribution of efforts to be made by the Member States for 2020, Spain must reduce its diffuse emissions by 10% compared to 2005, and there is already a new commitment on the European Union for the period 2021-2030: our country should reduce its diffuse emissions by at least 26% compared to 2005 over this period.
The new European 2030 framework doubles the effort on GHG reductions compared to commitments for 2020 and triples the effort in the diffuse sectors. The long-term objectives for 2050 call for reductions of around 90%.