For Immediate Release: June 30, 2017

SMUD Launches Climate Friendly Refrigerant Incentive Program

SMUD has launched a first-of-its-kind incentive program designed to promote the adoption of a new generation of natural refrigerants that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Integrated with SMUD’s Custom Incentive and Savings By Design Programs, the Pilot Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program will offer incentives up to $150,000 to help local businesses, such as grocery stores and food processors, choose natural refrigerants (ammonia, CO2, or hydrocarbon) when upgrading equipment or selecting equipment for new facilities. The incentive will also provide SMUD energy experts with opportunities to research how natural refrigerant systems perform under real world conditions in SMUD’s service territory 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.

While older refrigerants that can damage the Earth’s ozone layer have been mostly phased out, many new refrigerants are composed of highly potent greenhouse gases. SMUD estimates that stationary commercial and residential emissions in Sacramento County from conventional refrigerants were approximately 440,000 metric tons carbon-dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2015. Without action, these emissions are projected to rise to over 840,000 MTCO2e/year by 2050.

SMUD’s new Pilot Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program is aligned with the SMUD board’s strategic direction on environmental leadership, as well as both national and state policy priorities. The SMUD board’s Strategic Directive 7 instructs SMUD staff to provide leadership in the reduction of the region’s total emissions and greenhouse gases through proactive programs. In addition, the Department of Energy’s new commercial refrigeration efficiency standards took effect this year, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promotes alternative refrigerants through both its GreenChill Partnership and Significant New Alternatives Policy Program. The California Air Resources Board has also been working to manage refrigerant emissions through its Refrigerant Management Program and has identified many traditional refrigerants in its Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Strategy.

“Cutting emissions of potent short-lived climate pollutants is one of the most important and immediate steps we need to take to address climate change, while we continue our rapid transition to clean energy, clean fuels, and zero emission vehicles,” said Ryan McCarthy, Science and Technology Policy Advisor at the California Air Resources Board.

For more information about SMUD’s Pilot Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program, visit