- Country programs need to be designed with their needs and challenges in mind. Although all heating solutions should aim for being clean, efficient, convenient, and affordable, the priority may be different based on the country context. In the case of China and Mongolia where ambient air pollution has been the public top priority, cleanliness should be prioritized and rigorous standard and testing procedures for PM2.5 emissions have been developed for their stove programs. In the case of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan where poor households’ under heating and energy poverty has been a main concern, efficiency and affordability need to be more prioritized.
- The clean and efficient heating solutions require matching fuel and heating device and the recent stove technology development offers the opportunity to transform the sector. Smoke is unburned fuel and if the fuel can be burned completely, there will be no smoke. The recent stove technology development including the stove prototypes piloted in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan shows that heating stoves using solid fuels can be very clean. The lab tests show that these stoves have very low or even negative emissions, which means that stoves are cleaning the air as it burns the fuel.
- Incentives are needed to introduce new technologies and stimulate the demand, however, cautions have to be used not to distort the market and a phased strategy with gradually reduced incentives may be appropriate. Experiences from both China and Mongolia show that subsidies to reduce stove prices for households play a key role of introducing new technologies and achieving rapid market penetration. However, high level of subsidies could change household expectations, hurt local producers, and lead subsidy leakages as Mongolia has experienced. Awareness raising and information campaign are also effective ways to stimulate the demand.
- Developing clean stove local production capacity is crucial for the market transformation. Right now, except for China, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan are all dominated by artisan producers who require knowledge on how to design a clean stove, technical assistance on how to produce higher quality and lower cost stoves, and finance on working capital and investment on equipment for scale-up production. Due to the small market size, large-scale industrial production in these countries may not be the best solution. Upgrading artisan producers by encouraging joint venture and introducing prefabricated parts to kick off the production may be a good approach. Setting up an association for self-regulation, technical improvement, and quality control has also proven to be an excellent way to facilitate the market transformation.
All participants plan to sustain their efforts in bringing clean and efficient heating solutions to their respective countries because the benefits of promoting clean stoves are many, including cleaner air, better health, improved gender equality, less pressure on the local and global environment, and overall better quality of life.