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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on March 06, 2018

Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development

Rural Afghanistan is blessed with renewable energy resources, including hydro, solar, wind and biomass. However, a lack of modern forms of energy generation means these resources are wasted. This restricts local enterprises, limits delivery of public services and forces people to use harmful fuels for heating and cooking at home. For ore information see the IDTechEx report on energy harvesting: off grid.
Previous rural energy programmes have focused on commissioning electricity generating equipment for management by local communities. These programmes have largely ignored the cooking and heating needs of rural people and overlooked commercial and public service uses of energy. Private sector and financial institutions have played only a limited role, and policy, regulation and incentive frameworks have not been properly addressed.
With only 20% of the rural population connected to mains electricity, there is an obvious and urgent need to develop alternative sources of clean energy for people, businesses and government.
The ASERD programme plans to establish sustainable rural energy services in almost 200 rural communities over the next four years, providing both electric and thermal energy. Alongside the establishment of village level grids and thermal energy services, the project will pilot seven innovative financing and delivery models for eventual mainstreaming. This will bring sustainable energy to over 50,000 households.
Delivery models will be technology neutral, leverage additional local and international resources, and engage communities, national entities, the private sector and financiers. The programme will also establish frameworks for policy, regulation, environmental protection, quality control and incentives, and develop human and institutional capacity to sustain these delivery models.
With better access to reliable and affordable electricity (as opposed to diesel-based generation) we can expect to see gains in agricultural productivity, the development of rural enterprises, community empowerment and expanded public services in the areas of health, education and security.
Expected Achievements
  • In selected communities with the least access to electricity, or where communities will benefit most from additional support:
  • 180 mini and micro grids implemented, using hydro, solar, biomass, hybrid energy technologies and grid extensions
  • 19,488 improved stoves/tandoors offered at a subsided rate
  • 3,897 efficient heaters/bukharis offered at a subsided rate
  • 1,948 solar water heaters offered at a subsided rate
  • 1,948 biogas digesters constructed
  • 7 pilot initiatives launched, demonstrating sustainable financing sources and delivery models
Source and top image: UNDP Afghanistan