Courtesy of Wadsam

Afghanistan’s renewable energy resource potential is estimated at over 300,000 megawatts, with hydropower currently being the main source of renewable energy.

Naghlu Hydropower is the country’s largest hydropower plant. The rehabilitation of one of its four turbines was carried out under the Naghlu Hydropower Rehabilitation Project in May 2018.

Afghanistan has ample hydropower resources. In recent years, the Afghan government has focused on mobilizing power from those hydropower plants that were under construction or in need of rehabilitation, such as the NHPP, as this is the quickest and most cost-effective way of providing power from this environmentally friendly source. Other hydropower projects include the Salma dam and the first phase of the Kajaki plant, which were completed in the last two years. In the next phase, the government will try to leverage private sector financing for additional hydropower plants, starting with the expansion of the Kajaki hydropower plant.

The use of solar energy is also rapidly increasing throughout the country. The Afghan government recently issued a request for prequalification document for a 40MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project located in western Herat province. World Bank Group’s ‘Scaling Solar’ initiative will be acting as lead advisor for this project.

A meeting for interested companies and consortia will be organized on 5 November and prequalification applications must be submitted by 30 November 2019.

In May 2019, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued a $4 million to build and operate a 15.1-megawatt (MW) solar power plant. The aim of the project is to reach a goal set by the government to generate 40% share/5,000MW of the country’s total energy capacity from solar by 2032.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $10 million fund to support a 10-MW solar power plant in Kandahar in 2017. Kandahar Solar became the first privately built and operated power plant of this capacity in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s national utility company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) announced on Tuesday that soon a wind power project will be launched in Herat province.

Costing $43 million, the project will produce 25 megawatts of electricity within three years.

The project is jointly funded by the USAID and a Turkish company, according to DABS officials.

“Eight turbines will be connected in the project, and with these eight turbines we can generate 30 megawatts of DC electricity, and when converted to AC we can generate about twenty-five megawatts of electricity, and this power will be distributed to Herat city and to Herat’s industrial park and to business centers in Herat province,” Tolo News quotes DABS spokesman Wahidullah Tawhidi.

According to statistics from the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water, Afghanistan is capable of generating 68,000 megawatts of wind power, but currently only 0.3 megawatts of wind power is produced in Herat.