District energy is coming to Smart Cities in India kicking off with Rajkot, Gujarat, the first Indian city to include district cooling in their Smart City Plan. District Energy in Cities has worked with country partners, the national government and local officials in Rajkot over the past year to conduct feasibility studies and demonstrate the energy saving effectiveness of district cooling technologies.

February 7th, 2019 UN Environment is organizing a workshop ‘Cooling Smart Cities: The Arrival of District Energy in India’ in Rajkot. This workshop contributes to the activities of the UN Environment-led District Energy in Cities Initiative and its efforts to accelerate investments, raise awareness and unlock supportive policy frameworks for district energy systems in India. The workshop will be hosted by Rajkot Municipal Corporation and co-organised by UN Environment, ICLEI South Asia, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) and the International Solar Alliance.

By 2050, scenarios show that space cooling could reach 28% of India’s electricity demand and 44% of peak load. With the addition of electric mobility, India’s 100 smart cities of the future will be some of the largest consumers of electricity in the world. Cities globally are proving that a city entirely dependent on the state/national electricity grid is not smart and are dramatically rethinking how to localise power consumption, integrate energy systems, supply low-carbon heating and cooling and recycle energy and resources within a city to maximise efficiency.

This is where district energy excels globally. Local district energy plants provide high-efficient power, cooling and hot water to a city’s buildings and industry. These plants use a cost-effective combination of trigeneration, industrial-grade electric chillers, recycled waste heat from industry and power plants, solar cooling and free cooling from seas, rivers and lakes. In addition, the district energy plant can house large-scale thermal storage, eliminating use of grid electricity if necessary and can safely use environmentally friendly refrigerants.

These technologies are prescribed in the draft of India’s Cooling Action Plan as priority not-in kind technologies that must be scaled-up and adopted. The UN Environment-led District Energy in Cities Initiative has been working with partners such as EESL and champion cities such as Rajkot, Thane and Amaravati to advance this technology into the mainstream allowing cities to take some control of energy production and demand. Through the Initiative’s efforts, Rajkot has become the first city to incorporate district cooling in its Smart City plan and there are projects under development in Thane and Amaravati.

This workshop will raise awareness of district energy in India and consider how other Smart Cities, campuses, townships and industry hubs can incorporate a district energy approach into their urban planning.

February 07 2019


For further information on the workshop, please contact: Benjamin Hickman at benjamin.hickman[at]

For media inquiries, please contact: Sarah Harper at sarah.harper[at]

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