Well we are officially into a New Year, which means new rules and regulations, so what’s in store for the industry this year?
This will be the first of three articles focusing on changes in the industry this year, today will be starting with:
The HFC Phasedown
In Australia, the HFC phase down has begun. The Federal Government defines the HFC phasedown as a “gradual reduction in the maximum amount of bulk HFCs permitted to be imported into Australia.” The phasedown will be managed through a quota system on imports.
The Federal Government also stated that a phasedown rather than a phase out “provides for a residual amount of HFC imports after the completion of the phasedown schedule in 2035. A phasedown allows for gas to be available for maintenance of equipment that has already been imported into Australia, and provides for the continued use of HFCs for low volume uses where alternatives are difficult.”
There are three key features of the phasedown: the starting point, the phasedown steps, and the end point. The starting point started on 1 January, with an annual import limit of 8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). The Australian industry has agreed this starting point is consistent with current use. The phasedown steps consist of reductions at the start of each two-yearly quota allocation period, aligned with licensing periods under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Programme (OPSGGM). The next reduction will be from 2020, decreasing from 8 million tonnes CO2-e to 7.250 million tonnes CO2-e. The end point will be an 85 percent reduction, reached by 31 December 2035, which equates to 1.607 million tonnes CO2-e annually from 2036 onwards.
The Federal Government also states that the quota allocations and limits are: 8 million tonnes CO2-e (2018-19), 7.250 million tonnes CO2-e (2020-21), 6.250 million tonnes CO2-e (2022-23), 5.250 million tonnes CO2-e (2024-25), 4.250 million tonnes CO2-e (2026-27), 3.200 million tonnes CO2-e (2028-29), 2.9 million tonnes CO2-e (2030-31), 2.650 million tonnes CO2-e (2032-33), 2.100 million tonnes CO2-e (2034-35), and 1.607 million tonnes CO2-e (2036 and onwards).
The HFC phasedown applies to bulk imports of HFCs, such as cylinders. It doesn’t apply to used or recycled HFCs or HFCs imported in pre-charged equipment, such as air conditioners and refrigerators. This means there are no quota requirements for equipment importers and retailers.
The HFC phasedown applies to 18 HFCs covered by the Montreal Protocol, technicians will still be able to obtain HFCs to service equipment and it is recommended by the Federal Government for them to keep up-to-date with alternative technologies available and be aware of safety risks of alternative gases.
The Federal Government also states that the HFC phasedown is being implemented through the OPSGGM and associated Regulations and that the phasedown has been developed and supported by the industry. The OPSGGM underwent a review in 2015, in which several industry associations, including RACCA commented on, and ultimately lead to the establishment of the HFC phasedown. When the Federal Government announced the details of the phasedown in June 2016, several industry groups welcomed the news. In October 2016, a global agreement on the phasedown of HFCs, the Kigali Amendment, was established and was generally well-received by the global HVACR industry.
Early last year, the Federal Government introduced the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill which supports both the national and international phasedown requirements. The legislation was passed in Parliament three months later. The Federal Government also held info sessions on the phasedown in November and December last year, with more to follow this year.
Australia was one of the first 10 countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment in October, one month later the required 20-party ratification threshold was reached, which means the Kigali Amendment will come into force from January 2019.
More information on the HFC phasedown can be found here.
Image via Pixabay.