Renewable energy can solve Afghanistan's power scarcity problem - study

Jul 19, 2012 -

Renewable energy will help in Afghanistan’s energy scarcity problem according to a study by a researcher from Kansas State University.

Using a computer model called the Hybrid Optimization Model of Electric Renewable or Homer, developed by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Mahdi Sadiqi, a native of Afghanistan who studied in Kansas State, concluded the country should use more renewable energy to meet its power demands.

Mr. Sadiqi created a model power system in Bamiyan province in the northern part of the country using the computer software, he found that a hybrid system operated by renewable sources like micro-hydro and solar, as well as battery backups, are the most suitable alternative solutions to aid power scarcity.

Expanding the power grid, on the other hand, is impractical for the mountainous region of the country, and using wind power is unviable due to low wind speeds.

However, the new system would require energy curtailment a few hours per day for every household to cut electricity costs, suggesting that the community members must minimize energy consumption.

“More renewable electricity in Afghanistan could reduce poverty and deforestation and improve health care, living standards and education,” said Mr. Sadiqi.

Despite its affluent natural resources that include extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum and coal, Afghanistan remains dependent on foreign electricity and experiences shortages in supply.

Eighty percent of its population does not have access to electricity and nearly 70 percent live in remote rural areas, where the residents use wood, diesel and kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting.

Mr. Sadiqi said he looks forward for the outcome of the research to encourage private investors and local community members to maximize the renewable energy reserves in Afghanistan.

"By having electricity, a student can use more light to study until midnight. I remember I often studied under the moonlight if I had to," the Afghanistan native said. - EcoSeed Staff