Electrification using Decentralized Micro Hydropower Plants in North-eastern Afghanistan
Electricity supply database from the Afghan national authority for electricity supply shows that about only 20% of the population in Afghanistan had access to grid electricity by 2010. The national utility has a total capacity of about 842 MW, out of which about 696 MW was operational. Additionally, many decentralized units (Micro Hydropower (MHP) plants, diesel generators and solar home systems) supply electricity to about 7% of the population. The donors supported National Solidarity Programme (NSP) has promoted hundreds of rural electrification projects. MHP plants are the major renewable energy based projects among them. In order to identify the operational status of installed MHP plants in four North-eastern provinces (i.e. Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh and Takhar) and to assess their socio-economic impacts, an extensive field monitoring had been carried out. The major parameters studied were spatial distribution of MHP plants, investment costs, operational models, end user electricity tariffs, productive use of electricity, community satisfaction, etc. Altogether, 421 MHP installations (about 11 MW installed capacity) were visited. The outcomes obtained from those surveys are presented in detail in this paper.