New stove and fuel innovations driving consumer use in China
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and China's Ministry of Agriculture co-hosted a stakeholder meeting in Beijing to review the results of seven Alliance-led pilot projects in China. Cookstove and fuel producers from six provinces presented the key outcomes for their projects, which were launched in September 2015 to promote the adoption of cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels. Senior Chinese government officials joined Alliance CEO Radha Muthiah and China market manager Jichong Wu to review the projects and presentations.
A critical objective of the seven pilots included exploring market-driven models less dependent on government subsidies, with the goal of ensuring improved sustainability for the sector. As a result, the pilot projects helped create more than 80 stove and fuel retail stores, as well as the launch of an e-commerce trading platform where consumers can purchase stoves and fuel online. Close to 2,000 households were targeted with the initial pilot interventions, but an additional 30,000 households were reached in surrounding areas by leveraging local government match funding.
To achieve these outcomes, project directors combined the distribution of new stoves with a diverse set of market-based interventions. For example, on technology innovation, a pilot project in Liaoning Province created a new product – air conditioner-based heating powered by cookstoves, that uses surplus heat from cooking that is piped through the existing AC air ducts to warm the home. This concept and product helped boost stove sales since heating need is a large demand in this northern region especially during winter. On innovative distribution model, the Henan pilot project launched a rewards program. Customers purchasing new stoves can participate in lucky draws; the Gansu pilot project had a trade-in program, households can trade in old stoves for free or pay a small fee depending on the appraisal results for a new stove. On financing, the Hubei project used carbon finance to enable the distribution and each household will get $14 for return. The local government is exploring scaling up and participating in the CCER – China's newly launched domestic carbon trading regime. There are three pilot projects – Liaoning, Henan and Hebei – prioritized cleaner fuels as the driver of adoption/distribution. Three biomass pellets facilities and a service team in each location were established. The team will be incubated and supported as a startup company with Alliance funding at the initial phase, with plans to become self-sustaining by selling pellets to the region.
The results and successful models from the pilot projects have been included in a draft of the new National Clean Stove Program, which is part of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. With the new program approved, focus will shift to duplicating the successes from the pilots in larger regions with the goal of eventually scaling the programs nationwide.
Beyond the workshop, the trip to China also presented an opportunity for the Alliance to strengthen relationships and align goals with partners and government officials working on climate change and energy access. While in Beijing, CEO Radha Muthiah met with Xie Zhenhua, China's Special Representative on Climate Change Affairs and an Alliance Leadership Council Member. The National Development and Reform Commission reaffirmed its leadership and commitment reaching China's 40 million clean cooking target.