In Tajikistan, we have been searching for ways to introduce energy efficient technologies that can ensure a green development pathway for local communities. During our engagement in the UNDP we focused on finding sustainable energy solutions that are rooted in affordable, locally available technologies and resources.
Why do we think that small initiatives which fight the effects of climate change can have enormous impacts?
Following to the engagement during a few years in the UNDP we set up a functional green development pathway for local communities in rural Central Asia. The concept of the Green Villages was described earlier in this blog post and can be read on our Green Villages concept made by our experts and college Robert Pašičko from UNDP Croatia.
However, in year 2016 we travelled to Republic of Tajikistan as UNDP performing energy audits of 7 small and medium enterprises which resulted in a big report “Energy auditing, green solutions and innovative micro financing energy efficiency measures in SMEs in Republic of Tajikistan”. The research was an interesting journey through modalities of contracts with local energy providers (which change with the geographic location in the country) to different types of economic and social energy efficiency barriers. In addition, there is lack of capacity, knowledge, lack of awareness, no will to change, cheap energy prices, lack of technology supply or certification of technology leading to bad quality products with a short lifespan, or low efficiency rates etc.
Change should come from bought sides, policy and the government, and also on the local level and the end users. Still, there are also parts were there is no infrastructure or energy supply.
This is why we started working with small communities in the rural parts of Tajikistan and with micro RES solutions which are affordable or even built on site in our DIY projects.
The results have shown that the technologies are in use, even replicated in some communities. The solar thermal systems have been replicated many times and are working now in a few villages in rural Tajikistan. We even started heating a village school and mosque with our DIY rocket mass heater were local craftsmen and stove builders came to learn from a Croatian rocket stove expert.
Over the period of January – December 2016, all cookstoves and PVs, after testing in a controlled environment in Croatia, had been distributed and after three months of distribution surveys were conducted to receive feedback from the households. To sum, the survey has revealed that the cookstoves have helped to considerably reduce the use of wood for cooking in average by 30 – 40%. The only shortcoming expressed by the households was the small fuel chambers that required chopping wood into small sticks. Feedback on the PVs was positive for all parameters. One of the questions aimed at revealing the client satisfaction and readiness to pay has demonstrated that 85% of the respondents are ready to procure such PVs if the prices are below 15$.
Both technologies solutions introduced at the communities have showed the efficiency and high interest from the population. If the project is continued, there is a high chance for replicating the pilots to the extent of even localizing the manufacturing of the cookstoves on the basis of existing workshops or factories. The first attempt to manufacture the cookstoves was made on the basis of Sistemavtomatika company. Considering the feedback from the population that the fuel chamber was too tiny, three prototypes of the cookstoves were manufactured with varying chamber dimensions and their efficiency is being tested. Keeping this in mind, awareness workshops and change is necessary as nothing can be taken for granted, and to save means sometimes to give a bit of an effort, meaning in this case chopping wood.
Localizing the manufacturing of the cookstoves would however require a deeper market and feasibility assessments as the local manufacturers will have to compete with the neighboring Chinese markets.
The projects are now monitored and presented through the website Green Villages in Central Asia which is a central hub for all RES projects, at the moment in Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, but can be stretched through all other central asian countries.