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Afghanistan’s Energy Sector pins hope for Sustainable Development; a Vehicle for growth

April 24
13:19 2018

By Neelapu Shanti

For a futuristic vision in energy sector, Afghanistan has been putting solid footing to bring reform in order to achieve sustainable growth in energy efficiency.  Afghanistan can fuel the engine of economic growth by reorienting energy sector with a hope to create livelihood generation, peace and prosperity on a broader pace. A concrete energy strategy is like a pillar for Afghanistan to build upon the energy infrastructure which is an imperative constituent to address the most pressing needs of the nation affected by decades of conflict.The availability of secure energy supplies was significantly disrupted by war.Afghanistan’s total energy consumption is 4.74 billion KWH annually which is equivalent to 137 KWh. The energy producing facility available to Afghanistan is 1 Billion KWh which contributes 22 percent of domestic consumption and the remaining requirement is imported from the neighbouring countries. Therefore, reinvigorating Afghanistan’s energy domain will pull up government’s development effort prudently.

The recent conference titled ‘16thInternational Energy Forum’- 2018 in the Indian capital was an opportunity for Afghanistan to understand the nitty-gritty’s of expansion and integrated approach of energy planning. Themed “The Future of Global Energy Security: Transition, Technology, Trade and Investment”,the three-day conference was hosted by India, China and co-hosted by Korea. The conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister NarendraModi that witnessed participants from 72 IEF countries including Afghanistan.The IEF conference was set to be a convergence point in facilitating inclusive energy dialogue among international organisationsfor effective policy cooperation and strengthen the governance of energy markets globally.

Realizing Afghanistan’s energy needs and the prevailing instability in the region, it is pertinent to up lift the energy sector that will be beneficial in the long run for the country. Currently a notable transition in the energy sector is visible in the regional countries that is evidently helping Afghanistan to anew its position to address to the energy needs of its country people.  Afghanistan’s energy projects with the regional countries like the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000),Afghanistan-Tajikistan Gas Pipeline (ATGP), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas pipeline (TAPI), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan natural gas pipeline project is a shifting dynamics in the Energy and power sector.

Afghanistan’s Energy Sector at present

Afghanistan’s economic growth is hindered due to prolonged war; however, a significant step in mobilizing the energy basket will create ample opportunities in incentivizing the transmission of the energy trade, paving way in establishing regional energy market for the country. It is imperative to access modern energy that contributes in developing economic growth and human welfare. Modern energy access helps in securing sustainable and inclusive growth and energy supply chains need to be determined keeping in view the role of new financing mechanisms and clean energy technologies.

The Government of Afghanistan has been working towards in establishing the energy sector and to achieve energy security it require expanding and improving transmission networks by increasing domestic generation capacity by using a mix of hydro and thermal resources.Renewable energy resources such as hydro, wind, solar,and to some extent biomass and geothermal resources areabundant in Afghanistan. Since 2001, Afghanistan has made steady improvement in addressing energy needs for the people of their country which is evident as twenty five percent of the population is served by regular power supply comparing to 5 % population deprived of electricity before 2001. More importantly, Afghanistan holds a significant position to become an energy resource corridor and energy transit route between Central Asian countries and energy deficit countries in South Asia. Expanding regional electricity trade such as Turkmenistan into Afghanistan, Pakistan, andIndia (TAPI) could provide Afghanistan with transit revenues and energy security throughnecessary energy offtake to Afghanistan. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported twocompleted power import projects: a power transmission interconnection between Uzbekistan andAfghanistan that began operations in 2009 and a power transmission interconnection betweenTajikistan and Afghanistan that has been operational since 2011.

Innovations and new energy technologies are an important factor to achieve successive goals in the energy security for Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s energy sector is primarily state owned with littleprivate sectors’contributions.A modernized economy stands on ever growing energy supplies whether renewable or non-renewable energy sources and access to modern energy by deprived countries is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ADNS) and Afghanistan Compact were produced in order to provideconsistent, cheap energy more and more grounded on market-basedprivate sector venture and public sector oversight. Accordingly, principal investment in energy is increasing quickly attesting to the efforts ofthe government and the donor communities.

India-Afghanistan Energy Cooperation

The renew of Afghanistan-India Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) last year India to be implemented 116 High Impact Community Development Projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure, administrative infrastructure. The Afghan-India friendship dam has an installed capacity of 42 MW and supplies water for irrigating 75,000 hectares of land. Since then, the project has been generating electricity and releasing water for irrigation. The DoshiCharikar, 220 KV transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul was built by India.

Modern economies demand energy, as cost effectiveenergy in abundant quantity and quality on a sustainable foundationwill help to reduce poverty by contributing in socio-economic development and raising standard of living. Afghanistan will need constantfunds by government and donors appropriate to complete its energyaims. Until that time, Afghanistan will remain greatly dependent onsupporters’ capitals with the aim of warrant that funds do not collapseto discarded, and reach faithful aims and timeframes and createcommunal technical standards for rural energy schemes.

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