The Other ThirdThe Other Third: Global Energy Justice Initiative seeks to improve energy and environmental security for the world's poor. There are two to three billion people worldwide who have little or no access to beneficial energy for cooking, heating, water sanitation, illumination, transportation, or basic mechanical needs. Our projects take practical steps toward solving the energy and environmental deficits of this "other third." Predicated upon principles of energy justice, we focus on simple and inexpensive, yet largely ignored, technologies that already exist to deliver some of the clean and sustainable energy needed by the world’s energy poor.

For example:

Household indoor air pollution created by burning biomass can be reduced with affordable clean fuel technology solutions or clean combustion technologies such as cookstoves. Illumination provided by kerosene can be replaced by photovoltaic lights and decentralized mini grids based on solar, wind, and biomass-generated electricity.

Not only do such solutions promote increased health and economic development, but many of them also contribute to addressing the issue of climate change. We call these solutions "Appropriate Sustainable Energy Technologies" (ASETs).

The GWC interacts and works collaboratively with the Presidents Leadership Class (PLC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The PLC is a unique program, developed within an interdisciplinary, experiential environment. Admission to the PLC is considered one of the highest honors awarded to students at CU Boulder.

Our mission

We have identified four priority areas where the deployment of appropriate sustainable energy technologies will most effectively and efficiently offer access to energy for the "other third":

  • Cooking and heating (includes clean fuels and insulation)
  • Water access, safe drinking water, and sanitation
  • Illumination
  • Motive energy (includes agricultural needs, transportation, and basic mechanical energy)


  • A Model Law for Developed Countries (Cookstoves) – Principal Editor Scott Miller
  • A Model Law for Developing Countries (Cookstoves) – Principal Editor Lakshman Guruswamy

  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Membership list
  • Agenda - Sep. 30, 2019

With Caritas and Universidad Catolica de San Pablo

The majority of the energy poor rely on burning biomass (such as cow manure, crop residues, or collected wood) for cooking, heating, and illumination. Unfortunately, burning biomass within the home generates indoor air pollution, consisting of black carbon and other particulates, which results in 2 million premature deaths annually, primarily among women and children [WHO, UNDP, The Energy Access Situation in Developing Countries (2009)]. Additionally, black carbon is the second strongest cause of global warming [V. Ramanathan & G. Carmichael, Global and Regional Climate Changes Due to Black Carbon, 1 Nature Geoscience 221 (2008)].


This project, situated in the Ayaviri region in Peru, illustrates the feasibility of addressing both global warming and energy poverty simultaneously through the deployment of improved cookstoves and community development. It demonstrates a replicable, bottom-up approach to improving energy access.

Action Taken

STAGE ONE: Completed Summer 2010

2010 Needs Assessment
The main goal of Stage One of the Ayaviri Project was to conduct a needs assessment. From May to July 2010, a team of students from the University of Colorado Law School joined engineering students from the Universidad Catolica de San Pablo and members of Caritas, a well-known international non-governmental organization with a local presence in Ayaviri, to conduct a needs assessment (2010 NA) in five communities surrounding Ayaviri, Peru: (1) Machac Marca, (2) Quenmari Bajo, (3) Sunimarca, (4) Cordormilla, and (5) Cordormilla Bajo.

2010 Needs Assessment Analysis
In total, the 2010 NA surveyed approximately 200 community members, including both men and women with various positions within the communities. The 2010 NA data indicated that the most pressing concern faced by all five communities is the indoor air pollution and related negative health consequences resulting from inefficient cooking using cow manure as the primary fuel source. The data indicated that 100% of community members use cow manure as their main source of fuel for cooking. Of those surveyed, 88% recognized and experienced the associated negative health consequences, and 95% were interested in obtaining more efficient cookstoves. However, as we did not yet know what type of cookstove would be best suited to the local circumstances and had not demonstrated to residents the use of the cookstoves, the 2010 NA did not ascertain what the residents would be willing to pay by way of money and/or sweat equity for the installation of cookstoves in their own homes.
STAGE TWO: Completed Summer 2011

Cookstove Selection
Pursuant to the results of the 2010 NA and further consultation with relevant stakeholders, CEES plans to initiate State Two of the Ayaviri Project was completed in late May early June 2011. Stage Two initiated the process of deploying ASETs in Ayaviri, beginning with cookstoves to address the issue of indoor air pollution identified in Stage One. CEES worked with Dr. Bryan Willson, Director of the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at CSU, and GIZ, a German cookstove developer, to ascertain which cookstove model will be the best suited for the specific needs of these five communities. Additionally, CEES sought to take into account the cookstove standards recently issued by the Peruvian government, most specifically the requirement that improved cookstoves have chimneys.

Demonstration Cookstoves
In May/June 2011, in conjunction with Caritas, the Universidad Catolica de San Pablo, and local government members, a team of CEES volunteers helped installed fifteen demonstration cookstoves in the Ayaviri communities. The purpose of these demonstration cookstoves were twofold: first, to determine whether the selected cookstove model adequately meets community needs and can be appropriately integrated into the local way of life; and second to educate residents in how the cookstoves work and their potential health benefits. Residents will have the opportunity to examine the cookstoves, learn how to use them, ask questions, and taste local food that has been prepared on the new stoves.

Qualitative Monitoring
The demonstration cookstoves also gave CEES the opportunity to collect qualitative data on the health benefits of their use. Dr. Russell Schnell, Deputy Director of the Global Monitoring Division at NOAA, has designed a simple and inexpensive indoor air pollution monitor. Consisting of a Tupperware container and a battery-operated aquarium pump, the monitor draws air through a filter where the particulates are visibly trapped. A gray scale is then used to correlate the shade of gray on the filter to get a rough quantitative estimate. By running these monitors both before and after installation of the demonstration cookstoves, CEES hopes to gain qualitative comparisons of the changes in indoor air quality that can be shown to community members. It may also be possible to send the filters to a lab for additional analysis.

2011 Targeted Needs Assessment
After a chance to actually see the demonstration cookstoves and the results of our qualitative air quality monitoring, community members will be better able to determine if they actually want a cookstove in their own home and, if so, how much they would be willing to pay for it. Payment by individual community members is an important aspect of project success, as it instills a feeling of ownership and pride in residents and increases the likelihood that the new technology will actually be adopted into community lifestyles. CEES will conduct a Targeted Needs Assessment (2011 TNA) to determine the amount (if any) that community members are willing to pay. CEES will also work with Caritas to offer a sweat equity option, where residents can contribute a certain amount towards their cookstoves by working on other community development projects, such as improving irrigation, gardens, and animal husbandry. The 2011 TNA will also give CEES a chance to collect feedback on the cookstoves and address any potential concerns before the full installation of cookstoves throughout the communities during Stage Three.

Potential Quantitative Monitoring
Stage Two of the Ayaviri Project may also involve some quantitative monitoring through collaboration with the University of Colorado Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. A civil engineering graduate student may visit the Ayaviri communities in June 2011 to conduct additional quantitative monitoring.

A Better Cookstove
The GIZ stoves were well designed. A number of lessons were learned from the stage Two of the project. One of the most important related to the shortcomings of the crucial inner combustion chamber.  All parts, including the inner combustion chamber, were fabricated from adobe. This made it difficult to construct the inner combustion chamber to specifications. Moreover, they were often broken in transit, and were much less efficient than the metal chambers made at CSU’s Energy Conversion Labs for Envirofit. On his return Jason Prapas, a Ph.D student at the Energy Conversion Lab, who was a member of the Stage 2 team, has worked unremittingly to build an upgraded inner combustion insert for the stove, and initial data suggests that efficiency is doubled. These improved cookstoves will be ready for field testing and data verification during the last quarter of 2011.

Next Steps

STAGE THREE: To Be Completed Summer 2012

Full Cookstove Installation
Stage Three of the Ayaviri Project will proceed based on the results of Stage Two and the results of the 2011 TNA. Assuming the demonstration cookstoves installed in Stage Two are both (1) appropriate to community needs and (2) desired by community members, Stage Three will focus on providing improved cookstoves to any community member that wants one – which could be anywhere from 1 to 250 cookstoves. Depending on the responses to Stage Two, the local conditions in Peru, the availability of students for travel, and the timeline necessary to order and receive the adequate number of cookstoves, Stage Three of this project will likely take place in Summer 2012.

Payment for Cookstove Installation
Partial payment will be made for cookstove installation based on the results of the 2011 TNA, and community members will benefit directly from improved indoor air quality when the cookstoves are installed. In addition, through the sweat equity trade with Caritas, the community as a whole will benefit from the improvements made on irrigation n, gardens, and animal husbandry. The combination payment methods will enable these communities to develop in a sustainable, self-sufficient manner with pride of ownership.

Continuous Auditing and Maintenance
Auditing to ensure that the installed cookstoves are being used and maintained appropriately will be undertaken by Caritas and the University of San Pablo.

Worldwide, almost 3 billion people have little or no access to modern energy resources for cooking, heating, water sanitation, illumination, transportation, or basic mechanical needs. In response, the UN has launched a Global Campaign for Universal Energy Access and has designated 2012 as the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.”

Energy access has generally been equated with access to electricity, and there is no doubt that electricity is the ultimate goal of energy access. However, the daunting costs and time necessary to “leapfrog” from the poverty-induced lack of modern technology to electricity, renders it the final goal, but not necessarily the first step in accessing beneficial energy.

There are intermediate steps that will prepare the way for electricity. These are simple and inexpensive, yet largely ignored, technologies that already exist to deliver some of the clean and sustainable energy needed by the world’s urban and rural energy poor. For example, household indoor air pollution created by burning biomass can be reduced with affordable clean fuel technology solutions or clean combustion technologies such as cookstoves. Illumination provided by kerosene can be replaced by photovoltaic lights and decentralized mini grids based on solar, wind, and biomass-generated electricity. Not only do these solutions promote increased health and economic development, but many of them also contribute to addressing the issue of climate change. We call these solutions appropriate sustainable energy technologies (ASETs).

ASETs alone cannot extract a country from poverty, but they can play a critical role in boosting economic development and improving the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of the energy poor. Some ASETs – such as improved cookstoves, water filters, solar-charged illumination, and better mechanical and agricultural technologies – are already being distributed by a constellation of projects around the world. However, this distribution is not at the scale required.


The Partnership for the Relief of Energy Poverty (PREP) seeks to promote collaboration among multiple stakeholders concerning the design, fabrication, deployment, and use of ASETs in order to enhance efforts towards achieving the important goals articulated by the UN.

PREP has identified four priority areas where the deployment of ASETs will most facilitate access to energy:

  • Cooking and heating (includes clean fuels and insulation)
  • Water access and sanitation
  • Illumination
  • Motive energy (includes agricultural needs, transportation, and basic mechanical energy)

The steering committee, made up of volunteers representing different interests and entities, will focus on identifying and recruiting key stakeholders and securing public and private funding for the four ASET Alliances. The steering committee will also be responsible for addressing the role of regulations and governments as they pertain to ASET deployment and adoption in various locations. It will work towards publicizing the need for ASETs, and will also be responsible for promoting synergies, integration, and cross-pollination between the four ASET Alliances.

The Cooking & Heating Alliance will form part of and be an active partner in the Global Alliance for Cookstoves by striving to adapt and extend the solutions and strategies employed by the Global Alliance for Cookstoves to achieve advancement in providing ASETs for cooking. These solutions and strategies, where replicable, will also be used as a model for water access and sanitation, illumination, and motive energy.

The Water Access & Sanitation, Illumination, and Motive Energy Alliances will represent a hitherto absent collaboration among stakeholders in the design, fabrication, funding, marketing, deployment, and adoption of ASETs in each particular priority area. These alliances will not be restricted to trade and commercial groups and will include other sectors of civil society such as faith-based entities, NGOs, and philanthropic foundations that will promote overall cooperation in each area. Each ASET Alliance will work to promote the exchange of technical information and enhance collaboration between multiple stakeholders. This work will also involve analyzing the best practices for each ASET and the promulgation of voluntary universal quality standards and certification procedures for ASETs. While quality standards can be universal, any design standards that are developed will need to be localized. Each ASET Alliance will be responsible for issuing practical analysis papers annually to record what has been learned and what can be improved.

Action taken

The Women’s Energy Justice Network (WEJN), funded by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), dealt with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and microfinance for appropriate and sustainable energy technology projects in India. It has resulted in practical steps to advance better financing, including the creation of an online database tracking financing options for appropriate sustainable energy technologies (ASETs) through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), voluntary carbon markets, and micro-finance.

However, WEJN revealed that the high potential of CDM to contribute to the sustainable development of the energy poor and the empowerment of women, is almost negated by the opportunity costs of validation, monitoring, and verification required by traditional CDM. Consequently they have been unable to attract significant private CDM investors.

WEJN examined two ways of overcoming this challenge. One is a Programme of Activities (PoA) or Programmatic CDMs (pCDMs), where emission reductions are achieved and executed over a period of time.  The second is “bundling” where each activity is undertaken independently but is bundled together in order to reduce CDM transaction costs.   Both pCDMs  and bundling  call for coordinating organizations, whether government, private or voluntary, that can bring together the various entities to successfully create  and implement pCDMs or bundling. PREP will perform this function.

Research & Information
CEES Researchers are presently researching and collecting information about other international industrial trade groups and collaboration networks engaged in a variety of modern high technology manufacturing enterprises. The researchers are garnering knowledge about this industry to apply to the structure and future of PREP. The primary purpose of this research is to identify standardization or certification processes that could be applied to ASETs.

A. Standards.  Standards promote safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in almost every industry that relies on engineering components or equipment. Practically, standards consist of a voluntary set of rules for ensuring quality, set by a recognized standardization body. Technical standards involve technical definitions and specifications for products and processes. Nationally and internationally standards for goods and services have become pivotal to business, markets and trade of all descriptions ranging from electronics to timber. Vendors and end users depend on such standards because they vouch for the quality of a product or service. Standardization brings important benefits to business including a solid foundation upon which to develop new technologies and an opportunity to share and enhance existing practices. Standardization plays an important role not only in promoting more business but in advancing policy initiatives and understanding the place of regulation.

B. Certification. Product certification by independent entities means that a product has passed performance and quality assurance tests or met specific requirements and standards.  The electronics, timber, forestry, fishery, sanitation, medical, organic, green, and renewable energy industries all have respected independent certification programs.

CEES researchers are also researching and collecting information about voluntary groups and trade associations dealing with ASETs (whether in design, manufacture, deployment, or adoption) in an attempt to discover if:

  • They participate in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying, organizing conferences, publishing, networking, charitable events, and offering classes or educational materials.
  • There are any barriers that are currently keeping these groups from collaborating to produce standards and certification.

 Next steps

A steering committee and the four alliances need to be established. The cooking and heating alliance will form part of the Global Alliance for Cookstoves. The framework and criteria outlined below uses a hypothetical or thought experiment to illuminate the initial creation of strategic alliances in Water Access and Sanitation, Illumination, and Motive Energy. The emerging framework and criteria is being used by CEES to convene the initial strategic alliances and set a preliminary agenda for each alliance along with the Steering Committee. Once established, each alliance will design and forge its own organizational structure and function as an autonomous entity within the CEES umbrella. CEES will then continue to serve as a secretariat for all. The same will apply to the Steering Committee.

  • Identifying Stakeholders. This hypothetical suggests many lessons. First, it is critical for PREP to identify all the stakeholders(listed above) dealing with the entire gamut of design, fabrication, funding, marketing, deployment, and adoption of ASETs in each alliance.
  • Understanding the Product Matrix of ASETs. Second, it is equally necessary to understand and flag the lifecycle of an ASET from its conception, through design and manufacture, to marketing, service, impacts both positive and negative, and its final disposal.  Where possible this requires tracking and tracing the product chain of each ASET in a manner that will enable CEES analysts to enumerate, describe what is involved, and offer private and public investors a better understanding of every significant link.
  • Creation of a PREP Website. It is necessary to develop an interactive PREP website containing information referred to above along with other information provided by foundational research and information gathering. This website will incorporate the website of Women’s Energy Justice Network, as well as an ASET database where the ASETs included have been subjected to best engineering and best management practices. It will, therefore, contain currently unavailable information and track records for various types of ASETs.
  • Demonstrating the Importance of Collaboration. There is much that could mutually benefit Stakeholders # 3, #10 and #25. They could join together to create better prospects for private and public investors as well as collaborate to create better designs, fabrication, and funding, while undertaking better marketing. This could result in widespread deployment and adoption of cookstoves. Specifically, they could join to locate better suppliers of inner combustion chambers or better marketing across Eurabia. Moreover, the importance of standards and certification of inner combustion chambers and chimneys would help them to scale up the deployment of cookstoves.
  • Communicating with Stakeholders. It is necessary for CEES to communicate with all relevant stakeholders and share with them the benefits of more collaboration and of forming alliances.
  • Convening Each Alliance. Based on their research, information gathering, communication, and responses received, GWC analysts will now be able to invite key stakeholders to an initial strategic convening for the purposes of establishing each alliance.
  • Creating the Alliance. Each convened strategic body will now be in a position to determine how they should proceed as well as what structure, form, procedures and actions the new alliance created by them will take. It is perfectly conceivable that the goals, objectives, and actions taken by each alliance could be different from the others. Each alliance will be responsible for generating its own funding. The important PREP steering committee will also need to be established. The GWC will continue to operate as a Secretariat and repository of information.
  • Maintaining the GWC Secretariat. It is important that the GWC continue to play a role in servicing the Alliances by generating information about the ongoing research and operations of the other alliances through websites, seminars, and media events. It will focus on different aspects of PREP in the annual Energy Justice Conference, as well as generating policy and position papers and facilitating other publications about PREP.
  • Promoting Viable Business Enterprises. Once established, a PREP alliance faces the crucial question of how to promote viable business enterprises that design, manufacture, market, and deploy ASETs in developing countries. This calls for entrepreneurship.   Entrepreneurs in developing countries, as well as those in developed countries who wish to set up their enterprises in developing countries, face a host of daunting economic, political, and regulatory risks not encountered in developed countries.