USA: Businesses in Sacramento, California, are being offered up to $150,000 to move to “natural” refrigerants.

The Pilot Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program being offered by electricity supplier Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is though to be a first-of-its-kind scheme to help businesses move to low GWP refrigerants ammonia, CO2, or hydrocarbon.

Local businesses, such as grocery stores and food processors, will be eligible to receive up to $150,000 when upgrading equipment or selecting equipment for new facilities.

SMUD says the incentive will also enable its energy experts to research how natural refrigerant systems perform under real world conditions 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.

SMUD estimates that stationary commercial and residential emissions in Sacramento County from conventional refrigerants were approximately 440,000 MTCO2e in 2015. Without action, it estimates that these emissions will rise to over 840,000 MTCO2e/year by 2050.

SMUD is the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider. It has been providing electricity for more than 65 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is the first large California utility to receive more than 20% of its energy from renewable resources.