Frost & Sullivan reports that innovative technologies and a construction boom are driving growth in the district cooling market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is expected to overtake the district cooling market in the United Arab Emirates by 2014.
In the wake of increasing focus on sustainability and the “go green” movement across the globe, the Middle East is also adapting its energy consumption trends to suit the high levels of power demand resulting from extremely high temperatures. District cooling technology is of key importance, as it offers central cooling for multiple buildings effectively while saving about 25 percent on electrical costs.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the district cooling market in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to earn revenues close to USD 1.7 billion in 2013. The GCC is an economic union of Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,
A strong technology footprint and addition of new end users like airports, religious sites, and sports and recreational facilities open up opportunities for integrated district cooling systems. With the addition of new technologies and systems such as smart meters, advanced plant controls and seawater usage, the market is trying to be on par with international standards and practices.
“The KSA has become one of the most attractive district cooling business hubs with 26 percent market share compared to 74 percent of the all the other GCC countries put together. The district cooling market in the KSA is expected to overtake the UAE district cooling market by 2014 due to an impressive project pipeline and increasing awareness about District Cooling solutions,” said Kumar Ramesh, Industry Manager, Environment and Building Technologies, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan.
The District Cooling market is moving towards decentralization, as an effect of increasing demand from small scale developments requiring cooling in the 5,000 to 25, 000 tonnage range. Chiller manufacturers have introduced 6,000 TR capacity chillers, especially for district cooling plants in the region to target small projects in residential, commercial, and industrial applications.The KSA’s District Cooling market is mainly dominated by commercial offices. However, retail sector would soon catch up with a forecast of 30 percent market share by 2016. Additionally, other important end-user segments are airports, religious sites, oil and gas industry and educational institutions.
Specific provinces like Mecca are also projected to become a hub for the Digital Cooling industry due to developments in commercial, educational and Utilities sectors. The Mecca construction industry is likely to take off in a big way by 2017 due to increased usage in residential and industrial sites. As per a Frost & Sullivan study, the utilities and commercial construction markets saw 24 percent and 11 percent usage of District Cooling in the year 2012.
Desalination costs due to the needs of water cooled chillers comprise 24 percent of the cost factors for district cooling plants in the KSA. Hence, sustainable processes like TSE (Treated Sewage Effluent) and seawater are now being explored by the district cooling industry. Usage of seawater can save up to USD 4 million in a year.
“Pilot projects are being currently being executed to explore feasibility of smart meter system. To maximize efficiency, District Cooling companies in the UAE are also tying up with energy meter manufacturing companies, thus ensuring controversy free billing procedures along with add on services that Smart metering offers such as remote reading, cash registers and historical data.
“The KSA is expected to embrace innovative technologies like plant control to monitor and supervise central plant operations, smart meters, and seawater sourcing to achieve increased plant efficiency. This is expected to make the KSA a positive market for district cooling and achieve a higher penetration over conventional air conditioning systems,” concluded Ramesh.