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Ministry of Finance, ADB sign agreement on first solar power plant

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Ministry of Finance, ADB sign agreement on first solar power plant
 KABUL: Minister of Finance EklilHakimi, Samuel Tumiwa, CEO of the Asian Development Bank signed a $44.76 million grant agreement to build the first solar power plant for the purpose of expanding renewable energy in Afghanistan.
 ”Afghanistan needs a source of sustainable energy. In this regard, the Solar-powered energy offers promise in Afghanistan to meet the needs of the communities. Further, considering 300 sunny days per year with free solar irradiation to generate solar power, it makes Afghanistan an attractive country for implementing solar power projects, said EklilHakimi, the Minister of finance.
“The demand for power is rapidly growing in all over Afghanistan and insufficient energy supplies severely constrain economic development and income opportunities in this country”, said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan. 
“The new on-grid solar power generation project, which is the largest of its kind in Afghanistan, will not only provide access to a clean and reliable power supply in Afghanistan, but also create an environment for the future investments in this area through public-private partnerships,” he added.
While significant progress has been made since 2002, Afghanistan still relies on energy imports from neighboring countries to meet its domestic demand. 
Only about 32% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity and the demand for electricity in major load centers is growing by 25% annually. Reliance on energy imports, lack of enough power generation capacity, small domestic market, and financing weaknesses leave energy security highly vulnerable, a statement from the ministry of finance said yesterday.
Afghanistan’s renewable energy resource potential is estimated to be over 300,000 MW, consisting of solar (222,849 MW), wind (66,726 MW), hydro (23,310 MW), and biomass (4,000 MW).
The project will finance the construction of a 20 MW on-grid solar photovoltaic plant in Naghlu which is located in the capital Kabul’s Surobi district. The project will partially and quickly fill the demand-supply gap and improve sustainability of the northeast grid covering the capital Kabul and Jalalabad province. In addition, the project will provide power transformer and support facilities, upgrade the capacity of the existing substation, and Operation and Maintenance (O&M) services for 3 years. 
The project will also prepare the site and substation to accommodate 10 MW of additional PV plant for the future financing. The project may be expanded to 30 or 40 MW if additional financing from other development partners or the private sector comes is realized.
Capacity building support will be also provided for the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), and government-owned energy utility Da Afghanistan BreshnaSherkat (DABS) staff on solar photovoltaic plant design, technical evaluation, grid integration, and operation and maintenance. The project will be in line with the targets of the National Energy Supply Program of the Government of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Renewable Energy Policy.
The project will generate at least 65430 megawatt-hours of solar power and avoid at least 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the first full year of operation.
ADB is Afghanistan’s largest on-budget development partner in the energy sector. ADB has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people in Afghanistan.
Over the coming years, ADB will support the increase in the country’s electrification rate from 30% to 83% and lifting the share of domestic generation from 20% to 67% by 2030. ADB will also play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in co-financing.
It is noteworthy which details of this contract shared with the media by the Ministry of Finance, Asian Development Bank and the Breshna Company. 
The Kabul Times