SPAIN: Twelve associations and groups from across the Spanish HVACR industry and end user sectors have written to MEPs expressing concern at the F-gas revision proposals.
In addition to HVACR and insulation manufacturers and contractors, the joint letter has also been signed by organisations representing supermarkets, retail distribution companies, food, agriculture and hospitality.
The statement maintains that a ban on HFCs could have a negative impact on the country’s economy and on the operations of numerous sectors, especially tourism and agriculture, including food exports.
It says that the proposed bans would jeopardise energy-saving targets and prevent Spain from complying with the REPowerEU plan. The co-signees also warn of the potential financial implications to Spain’s important food, tourism and hospitality sectors.
They claim that F-gases, and especially the latest generation, offer superior energy efficiency that will allow Spain to save on energy costs and make heating and cooling affordable for households, tourism and food exports.
“Maintaining the use of the more efficient, safe and economically viable and lower GWP and environmental impact refrigerant solutions (both fluorinated and non-fluorinated) and preserving the scheme of gradual reduction of fluorinated gases of the current version of the regulation will allow Spain to carry out its energy transition in a more economically sound and sustained manner as a country, both for its citizens and its basic industries,” the statement says.
It also claims: “F-gases, and especially the latest generation, offer superior energy efficiency that will allow Spain to save on energy costs and make heating and cooling affordable for households, tourism and food exports.
“Regulators should promote legislative texts that ensure technological neutrality, allowing industry to meet its needs by choosing the best solution in each case among the most energy efficient, sustainable and safe refrigerants on the market,” it adds.
According to the group’s statement, the agri-food sector, one of Spain’s major exporting sectors and which contributes about 10% to Spain’s GDP, are still on cooling systems with high GWP HFCs due to the higher cost of CO2 or glycol alternatives. Most are SMEs who would be faced with high cost unplanned investments.
It is estimated that more than 90% of the 24,000 food distribution outlets in Spain could not be maintained if the proposed ban on the maintenance of refrigeration systems was enacted.
“The conversion of the entire fleet of facilities to systems without fluorinated is simply unfeasible under the proposed timings in the various amendments,” the group says.
The unintended consequences for the tourism and service industry could be “disastrous” for Spain, the statement says, since hotels, restaurants, leisure centres, supermarkets, etc, need to be heated and cooled, especially in summer.
This sector is of vital importance for Spain, generating 2.27 million jobs, 11.4% of total employment.
“If the F-gas regulation is revised according to the radical objectives proposed by its rapporteur, Green MEP Bas Eickhout, it will also mean that many equipment and installations would become prematurely obsolete, with the economic losses that this would entail and the impact on the environment and the circular economy.”
The associations point out that Spain has 25.7 million homes, of which 10 million are primary residences, built before 1980. Unlike most other European countries, around 65% of the Spanish housing stock are high rise and small apartments, which traditionally use split systems air conditioning, accounting for more than 12 million units.
“If the extreme position of the review is approved, there will be no alternative to replace them when the units installed before 2014 reach the end of their useful life,” the statement says. “Solutions with highly explosive refrigerants such as propane will not be possible, in many cases, due to the regulatory requirements of minimum area in living spaces in homes.”
The associations say that maintaining the scheme of gradual reduction of F-gases as in the current version of the regulation will allow Spain to carry out its energy transition in “a more economically sound and sustained manner”.
“Regulators should promote legislative texts that ensure technological neutrality, allowing industry to meet its needs by choosing the best solution in each case among the most energy efficient, sustainable and safe refrigerants on the market.”
Signatories of the statement are:
ACES (supermarket chains)
AEFYT (refrigeration technology)
AFEC (air conditioning equipment manufacturers)
AISLA (insulation installers)
ALDEFE (cold storage, logistics and distribution)
ANGED (large distribution companies)
ASEDAS (supermarket, wholesale and central purchasing companies)
CEC (confederation of commerce)
CNI (HVACR, plumbing, electric and fire protection contractors)
CONAIF (confederation of HVACR associations)
FELAC (federation of associations of manufacturers of equipment for the hospitality sector).