The German government officially handed over two small hydropower schemes in northeastern Badakhshan province to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water the other day, said a statement by the German Cooperation with Afghanistan.
The power schemes will be operated and maintained by the Afghanistan’s national power company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the statement said.
After the signing ceremony, Eng. Shekeeb Ahmad Nessar, Chief Operation Officer of DABS thanked the German government and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in particular for the support it has provided Afghanistan in the energy sector throughout the years. The handover and operations of the power schemes benefit a total of 26,000 people in the Yaftal district of Badakhshan.
The two renewable power schemes were built in the towns of Nalan and Farghambowl in Yaftal district with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of BMZ.
Financed by BMZ and managed by the Afghan-German cooperation programme in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water, the costs of the two pilot projects in Badakhshan amounted to $5 million. The mini hydro power schemes have a capacity of 280 kW and 125 kW and provide electricity for 2,900 public and private connections.
The construction and grid extension project for these power plants was completed in late 2013, and the schemes are now ready for the formal handover to the Afghan government. In an initial trial period, local operators assisted in operation and maintenance of the schemes.
The electrification project has already benefited shops and businesses, which can use electricity to increase productive capacity. Private households also benefit from no longer having to use firewood or oil for cooking or lighting.
Besides supplying electricity for the rural population, the power scheme projects also help the Ministry of Energy and Water collect data on requirements for constructing and operating renewable energy power schemes in Afghanistan, with an expert team from the ministry analyzing operational costs. This handover from the German to the Afghan government was the second of its kind this year.