Kabul, Afghanistan, 5 April, 2021 – A hybrid mini-grid of Solar-hydro with a total capacity of 340 KW has been inaugurated in Dar-i Noor district of Nangarhar Province. The Deputy Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), H.E Popal Habibi; the Nangarhar Governor, H.E. Zia ul-Haq Amarkhil and Senior Deputy Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan, Ms. Surayo Buzurukova were present at the ceremony. The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Choi Tae-Ho and other Government officials attended virtually.
Lack of sustainable and affordable electricity has been a significant challenge for the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the area and the main barrier to expanding their activities. In addition to being very expensive, the use of diesel generators has resulted in air pollution and health problems for the local residents. Due to lack of electricity, children have not able to study at night.
The Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development (ASERD) project, under which the mini-grid has been constructed, is aligned with the Government of Afghanistan’s priorities. It is a flagship project of the MRRD and UNDP Afghanistan and is financially supported by the Republic of Korea and UNDP Afghanistan.
H.E. Popal Habibi, MRRD Deputy Minister, said that “electricity not only lightens your houses but is also a foundational stone for other development interventions. We hope that the electricity will add to the beauty of this attractive valley and will contribute to a prosperous life for the local residents and to achieving economic self-reliance.”
The mini-grid has a robust operation and maintenance mechanism ensuring people have reliable access to electricity. This project is expected to provide electricity to approximately 18,000 people (about 3,000 households) and more than 80 small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Access will extend to health clinics, mosques, madrassas (religious schools) and schools in the project area.
“As in the rest of the world, there is a great demand for energy in Afghanistan: be it rural residents, business-people, utilities, hospital, schools or irrigation,” said H.E. Choi Tae-Ho, Ambassador of Republic of Korea.
“Afghanistan has extremely low access to energy,” he added, “which in turn harms the economy, people’s livelihoods, business, health and education. We are proud to mention that today with financial support of Republic of Korea, financial and technical support of UNDP and MRRD we are inaugurating the first Hybrid Mini-Grid of Solar and Hydro in Dare Noor District of Nangarhar province.”
“Access to affordable and reliable electricity will provide equitable economic growth, lighting, health benefits, access to up-to-date information and connection to the world. It also helps improve peoples’ living standards and business environment through the productive use of electricity,” added Ms. Surayo Buzurukova, UNDP Afghanistan’s Deputy Resident Representative.
ASERD plans to develop additional renewable energy mini-grids. In addition, it intends to develop policies, best practices and guidelines for encouraging decentralized, renewable energy access to fulfill thermal and electrical energy demand in rural Afghanistan.