Press release: Focusing on renewable energy in Afghanistan

KABUL - UNOPS participated in Afghanistan’s first Renewable Energy Summit and Access to Finance Exhibition, which was held on 13-14 June 2015.

Decades of war have massively destroyed Afghanistan's energy infrastructure. According to the World Bank, only 30 percent of the population has access to electricity. While the situation has improved in some parts of the country, Afghanistan's need for energy, particularly in rural areas, remains a national priority.

The Renewable Energy Summit and Exhibition aimed to expand efforts to develop renewable energy in the country, and brought together a wide spectrum of actors from the Afghan Government, private companies, non-governmental organizations, donors and UN organizations. Up for discussion were Afghanistan's strategic plans, policies and regulations, stakeholder roles, financial structures and investment opportunities in renewable energy.

During the summit, UNOPS shared its experience in implementing large-scale infrastructure projects that feature renewable energy components, with a particular focus on solar power. UNOPS has installed 140 units of solar-powered streetlights along key sections of a 10.7-kilometre asphalt road in Chaghcharan, Ghor Province, and a further 240 solar-powered streetlights along a 14km road in Bamyan City and Foladi valley.

UNOPS has also incorporated a solar-powered electrical system into the newly-constructed Computer Science Faculty Building at Kabul University, and installed a solar-powered electrical system that will help to support border management capacity in Takhar Province. These projects were funded by the Government of Japan.

In addition to showcasing successful renewable energy projects, UNOPS presented the challenges, key recommendations and lessons learned, all of which were well-received by the Ministry of Energy and Water.

UNOPS is currently working on a framework of cooperation with the Renewable Energy Department in order to provide assistance in areas such as infrastructure, project management, procurement, capacity building, policy and project development and implementation.

The event was organized by the Renewable Energy Department of the Ministry of Energy and Water, in partnership with Afghanistan Renewable Energy Union, the Government of India and the United States Agency for International Development.