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Editorial: Local power

Industries in the country are facing severe energy crisis because many industrialists claimed that their businesses are on the verge of collapse. Their demand is not new. The government was well-aware of the energy crisis that put the new companies in troubled waters. Several people have lost their jobs due to shrinking activities of the local industries. Afghanistan needs 7,000 megawatts of electricity of which the country produces less than 55 percent. The demand for power will increase in the next five years when Afghans will return to their homeland from Pakistan and Iran. The arrival will boost local production and strengthen the national economy if the there was enough electricity to power the industries.

However, the current situation is perturbing business community as many industries are starving and investors are desperately looking for different sources of energy to prevent their businesses from collapse or at least loss. Afghanistan has the potential to generate 314,500 MW of electricity from different sources including water, wind and solar. The country can generate 222,000 MW of electricity by building solar power plants because 300 days are counted as sunny in the year. It is biggest source of power in the country which has not been utilized, so far. Wind energy is second major source from which we can generate 67,000 MW power. Herat province can meet the demand of the country by producing 12,000 MW of electricity from wind, let alone Farah, Helmand, and Nimroz.

Likewise, Afghanistan has the capacity to produce 23,000 MW electricity if dams were build on major rivers because hydropower is third major source of power generation in the country. Unfortunately, the leaders in the power corridors have given priority to import of electricity than export. CASA-1000 and TAPI are outstanding projects in this regard. The government has been mulling for the past several months to import electricity from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. In April this year, Turkmenistan announced to export 400 MW electricity from its gas-fired plant. The plant has been built in Lebap province. The Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company, has also showed interest in exporting surplus electricity to Afghanistan and other countries.

However, these projects are not the solution but problems. It will make the country dependent on the Central Asian Republics. It will not boost the national economy as the locally generated electricity will. Therefore, the government shall focus on homemade solutions rather than relying on neighbors for energy. But it is necessary to empower Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat. If the body was not empowered, influential people and institutes will deny paying their electricity bills. It will put burden on the exchequer.

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