Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development (ASERD)

Abdullah Huda Amiri, 43, is the electrician and micro hydro power plant operator in Pyawasht village. Before the completion of the project, he was an ironsmith who earned barely enough for him and his family. But since he became the plant operator his life has improved. His salary is collected by the micro hydro power council from families who use the electricity. He is paid about US$200 per month and the rest of the money collected is used for the maintenance of the machine. Photo: © UNDP / S. Omer Sadaat



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.

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



Project start date:

June 2015

Estimated end date:

December 2021

Focus area:

  • inclusive growth
  • eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Afghanistan

    Implementing partner:

    Min. Rural Rehab&Dev

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Government Of Republic Of Korea
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2021 -$168,063

    2020 $1,517,700

    2019 $1,901,488

    2018 $1,778,326

    2017 $2,130,247

    2016 $974,700

    2015 $201,622

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