Afghanista­n signs $160m re­new­able en­ergy deal with US, Turkey and In­dia

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - Sayed Salahud­din Kabul

So­lar pho­to­voltaic and wind power projects signed by Afghanista­n un­der a $160 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional deal on Wed­nes­day evening will add 110 megawatts to the coun­try’s grid in the next 16 months, of­fi­cials said. The projects will be de­vel­oped in Kabul, Balkh and Herat by a lo­cal com­pany with part­ners from Turkey, In­dia and the US Agency for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID).

“With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of these projects, we will not only wit­ness im­prove­ment in the en­ergy sec­tor, but (in other ar­eas) as en­ergy is the ba­sic need for the im­prove­ment of other sec­tors,” Lima Kho­ram, pol­icy and devel­op­ment chief at the Afghan Fi­nance Min­istry, told Arab News on Thurs­day.

“We will also see the devel­op­ment of other ma­jor sec­tors. This is not only good news for the cit­i­zens, but for all in­vestors and en­trepreneur­s too,” she said. Afghanista­n needs to in­crease ac­cess to en­ergy to en­able devel­op­ment — and the projects signed on Wed­nes­day are go­ing to be the coun­try’s big­gest in­vest­ment in so­lar power so far, ac­cord­ing to Wahidul­lah Tawhidi, a spokesman

for DABS, the coun­try’s main power pro­ducer.

“This will be a highly ef­fi­cient work for the gen­er­at­ing of more elec­tric­ity in Afghanista­n,” he said. Tawhidi told Arab News that the projects will be de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with USAID by

an Afghan com­pany, a firm from Turkey, and one from In­dia.

One of the projects, a pho­to­voltaic sta­tion de­signed to pro­duce 40 megawatts of power, will be built in the north­ern Balkh prov­ince, which is the main gate­way to Cen­tral Asia. Two plants — one so­lar and one wind pow­ered with a ca­pac­ity of 25 megawatts each — will be in­stalled in west­ern Herat prov­ince, near the bor­der with Iran Turk­menistan.

The fourth one, a float­ing so­lar power sta­tion, will be built at Naghlu dam, east of Kabul. Afghanista­n cur­rently im­ports 1,200 megawatts of en­ergy from Iran, Ta­jik­istan, Uzbekistan and Turk­menistan as it can only gen­er­ate 400 megawatts from its dams.

File/AFP

Afghanista­n needs more en­ergy to ac­cel­er­ate its devel­op­ment.

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