Cooling networks are key to facing climate change

By Engie - 31 July 2023 - 10:00

Boasting over 100 urban cooling networks -most of them outside France-, ENGIE is leading the pack, whether globally or nationally. ENGIE operates cooling networks in 10 countries, such as Spain, Portugal, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and the Philippines, totaling 5.6 GW worth of existing combined output worldwide. 


Against a backdrop of rising temperatures, recurrent heat waves and droughts, demand for cooling networks in cities is set to become a major stake over the next few years. Demand already rose 3-fold between 1990 and 2016 and the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast it will rise 3-fold again by 2050. Urban cooling networks are then becoming key to facing climate change as the growth of urban areas shows no sign of slackening. 


Cooling networks vs. air conditioning: the former are bound to prevail over the latter 


Cooling networks are a win-win solution to ramp up city decarbonation all over the world. They make it possible to use greener fuels to cool buildings and the list of assets they generate for the comfort, health and well-being of city-dwellers is hard to challenge: they entail a 90% cut in cooling fluids compared with individual air-conditioning units and a 50% cut in electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions while allowing for a 97% improvement in energy efficiency. 


In 2022, ENGIE’s yearly cooling-network supply reached 8TWh. In France, the Group is operating in such cities as Paris or Marseille; in Europe, it has cooling facilities in Barcelona, Lisbon or Berlin. In the latter case, ENGIE is developing a heating and cooling facility in a new eco-friendly neighborhood -”Das Neue Gartenfeld”. There are other such facilities around the world, in Dubai, Boston or Singapore where a cooling network is in its final stage of development. 


To meet rising demand for cooling capacity, ENGIE is determined to build networks in France and all over the world. The Group will focus on setting up such cooling infrastructure next to client facilities to support their respective decarbonization policies. A further 8GW capacity will be added by 2025, compared with the 2020 baseline, 55% of which will come from heating and cooling networks, i.e. 4.4GW.