The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
Articles

Time to invest in alternative sources of clean energy in Afghanistan

As 26th January is the firstever International Day of Clean Energy, it is important to look at the renewable energy sources in Afghanistan. Currently, renewable energy in Afghanistan includes biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind power. Hydropower is currently the main source of renewable energy due to Afghanistan’s geographical location. Its large mountainous environment facilitates the siting of hydroelectric dams. Adopting clean energy is integral to the fight against climate change. For decades, science has shown that to limit climate change, we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels and invest in alternative sources of energy that are clean, sustainable, accessible, affordable, and reliable. Today, over 675 million people are living without access to electricity in the world and 2.3 billion are forced to cook with harmful fuels. Clean energy has the power to transform the lives of these communities that currently lack access to reliable power sources. The renewable energy resource potential of Afghanistan is estimated at over 300,000 MW according to the country’s ministry of water and energy. The country currently spends around $280 million on importing 670 MW of electricity from neighboring Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Another form of renewable energy in Afghanistan is biogas. With the start of biogas, communities have begun to feel the benefits beyond that of the environment through capacity building as well. Afghanistan has the potential to produce about 4,000 MW of power through biogas. Traditional biomass energy has supplied up to 90% of energy demand, such as from firewood and dung. Geothermal: An area of vast untapped potential lies in the heat energy locked inside the earth in the form of magma or dry, hot rocks. Geothermal energy for electricity generation has been used worldwide for nearly 100 years. The technology currently exists to provide low-cost electricity from Afghanistan’s geothermal resources, which are located in the main axis areas of the Hindu Kush. These run along the Herat fault system, all the way from Herat in the west to the Wakhan district of Badakhshan in the far northeast. With efficient use of the natural resources already abundantly available in Afghanistan, alternative energy sources could be directed into industrial use, supply the energy needs of the nation and build economic self-sufficiency. In the meantime, hydropower and hydro-energy are some of the best energy options in the country. The geographical location of Afghanistan is extremely mountainous which makes the implementation of hydropower an easier choice. The country has 75 billion cubic meters of potentially available renewable water resources are also the main source of recharge for groundwater as precipitation is low in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has the potential to produce over 23,000 MW of hydroelectricity. The country has significant hydro resources with a river catchment area of 677,900 km2, annual average rainfall of 300 mm, and widespread hilly topography. Solar and wind power: Afghanistan has the potential to produce over 222,000 MW of electricity by using solar panels. The use of solar power is steadily increasing throughout the country. Annual average solar insolation varies from 4 to 6.5 kWh/m2/ day, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. The report also stated that Afghanistan has the potential to produce around 68,000 MW of electricity by installing and using wind turbines. Wind power is not the commonly used method in Afghanistan for renewable energy though there are vast opportunities. It is believed that the areas which would produce the most wind energy and would benefit the most are in western Afghanistan, and some areas in the country’s north as well. Global clean energy additions continue to soar, with cumulative capacity expected to reach over 4,500 GW by the end of this current year. By 2027, it is expected that solar PV’s installed power capacity will surpass that of coal, becoming the largest in the world. However, G20 countries account for almost 90% of global clean energy capacity today. More must be done to accelerate clean energy in other countries particularly Afghanistan, too, including many emerging and developing economies, that grapple with energy access issues. The countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, as well as those countries that are categorized as Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), must deploy much more clean energy. But for that to happen, a significant increase in public and private finance is needed, and a good place to start is redirecting fossil fuel subsidies. In Afghanistan, the majority of the population is without clean energy access. For such populations without clean energy access, the lack of reliable power limits economic opportunities, hinders education, delivery of quality healthcare, and so much more. Compounding the challenges, many of the Afghan people still rely heavily on polluting fossil fuels in their daily lives, perpetuating poverty. It is time that not only the Islamic Emirate but also relevant national and international organizations should invest in alternative sources of clean energy in Afghanistan. Mukhtar Saf

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.