The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Major development plan made for Afghanistan electricity sector

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has made continued efforts to address the shortage of electricity in the country but it needs sufficient budget and implementation of major development plans to address it permanently. Afghanistan faces an uphill battle in the supply of reliable electricity to both urban and rural communities. Afghanistan just produces only 20 – 30% of the country’s electricity needs domestically, mainly as hydroelectric (88%). With the Islamic Emirate (IEA) takeover, some private organizations and government initiatives have been instrumental in the development and implementation of energy in the country. For example, opening the 10- megawatt solar power generation project in Kabul has been part of these efforts. Afghanistan wants now to go for domestic electricity production rather than being dependent on importing electricity. Therefore, the Islamic Emirate has worked to have a development plan to address the shortage of electricity in the country. The IEA officials have now informed that about 200 powergenerating projects will be launched in the country in the next five years. The country’s Ministry of Water and Energy has presented five-year development plan for the electricity sector, valued at $3.8 billion, which was provisionally approved pending final Economic Commission approval. The plan aims to achieve power generation self-sufficiency through approximately 200 projects. In the meantime, a committee comprising representatives from the Ministries of Justice, Finance, Mines and Petroleum, and Water and Energy was assigned to negotiate a tripartite agreement for natural gas-based electricity production. The agreement involves Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, Afghan Gas Enterprise, and Bayat Power. Currently, Afghanistan has been fulfilling most of its energy requirements by importing electricity from its neighboring countries. Afghanistan is capable of generating thousands of megawatts of power from domestic sources which would be enough to fulfil the needs of the people. The Islamic Emirate wants to go for domestic electricity production rather than sticking to importing electricity from other neighboring countries. As a key step toward domestic electricity production, deputy prime minister for economic affairs, Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar has recently inaugurated a project of 10 megawatts of solar power near Naghlo dam in Surobi district in Kabul. The 10-megawatt solar power generation project, backed by the private sector and supported by the Islamic Emirate, is poised for completion within a year, requiring an investment of approximately 700 million Afghanis. Afghanistan’s rural regions often experience major neglect. It is time that the Islamic Emirate with the help of foreign aid initiatives needs to go for a proactive shift towards off-grid renewable sources. This implementation of domestic renewable energy sources in Afghanistan will help the country more effectively alleviate poverty. The import of 78% of Afghanistan’s grid-supplied electricity comes from neighboring Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Turkmenistan. Currently, the country faced the daunting prospect of losing power, with only 35 of the 38 million residents having access to electricity. The burden of repaying outstanding bills to neighboring countries weighs heavily on Afghanistan government. Investments in off-grid renewables like solar or micro-hydro can have an important effect on Afghanistan’s development. Access to consistent and clean energy helps alleviate poverty since more people have access to better health care, education and amenities. Furthermore, reliable electricity for water distribution centers and cold storage facilities helps to sustain the basic needs of rural communities. S.Raqib

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.