Afghanistan Energy Study

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The Afghanistan Energy Study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the country’s energy sector to inform future investments and support the Government of Afghanistan plans to increase access to affordable and sustainable energy. Despite the growing population, increasing demand for investments in energy and obvious economic gains to be made, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the on-grid and off-grid prospects of electrification for the country. This six-part study conducts a series of complementary assessments and surveys which provide technical input pertaining to off- or on-grid energy connectivity and capacity, delivery mechanisms, renewable energy technology options, household level energy demand and consumption pattern, highlighting constraints and opportunities, but also capacity building needs.  Based on findings and lessons learnt, the Afghanistan Energy Study offers action-oriented recommendations on the way forward, whilesharing global experiences with the relevant line ministries through knowledge exchange.

Transactions Advisory and Knowledge Sharing (Activity 1)

This activity helped to lay out the groundwork for the sequenced activities, by bringing together key officials within relevant ministries (Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Afghanistan’s power utility DABS, and representatives from academia), and forming the Afghanistan Energy Study (AES) Committee. The Committee decides on the key scope, expected outcomes and implementation arrangements of the Afghanistan Energy Study, leading to the finalization of terms of references for each activity. The picture below shows the AES Committee at work during a visit to IDCOL, Bangladesh, in 2017, where options for off-grid solar were assessed. 

Photo (upcoming) 

Sub-ordinate to the AES Committee, a geo-spatial working group has been set up. The need for this became apparent as several of the activities require GIS data as a fundamental tool for further analysis. GIS experts from Afghan governmental institutions and from academia have joined the group and have made important contributions to the development of the overall study. Below a picture from a workshop that took place in New Delhi in early 2017. 

Several knowledge exchange events have been carried out, including seven AES Committee meetings, and a series of knowledge products have been prepared that served to guide the subsequent activities.

Knowledge products 

Energy Security Trade-offs under High Uncertainty. Resolving Afghanistan’s Power Sector Development Dilemma

This report develops approaches to power sector planning and investment decision making that respond to the uncertainties that Afghanistan faces, while striking a balance between the three main policy imperatives of economic efficiency, energy security, and environmental sustainability. It aims to provide an alternative to the “predict-then-act” approach to planning that will allow for more robust decision making. Instead of identifying the “best” plan to meet a specific forecasted scenario, it poses a different question: given a set of options that can be practicably implemented, which one of these alternatives is the most robust to the main uncertainties?


Integrating Gender into Energy Interventions in Afghanistan

This report analyzes how gender considerations can be integrated in different types of energy interventions in Afghanistan. Several gender entry points are identified, grounded into the local context and aiming to address the energy challenges that the country is trying to address. 


Knowledge exchange events

Solar Off-grid Electrification Workshop (Bangladesh, Jan 2017)

Financial Economics & Community Modality Assessment (Activity 2)

This assessment aims to gain insights into factors influencing successful electrification schemes and develop a decision tool to select appropriate technology and delivery modalities to provide electricity services to rural communities using a community driven development approach. The activity analyzes the relative merits of electrification options as measured against social, environmental, technical, financial, economic and operational factors and provides guidance on making electrification choices.  The study uses a sample of projects selected from about 8,000 ongoing and completed electricity projects under the National Solidarity Program (NSP). The sample includes micro-hydro power (MHP), stand-alone solar, renewable energy mini-grids, and on-grid energy projects.

Terms of reference

Inception report (upcoming)

Final report (upcoming)

Households and Enterprise Energy Diaries (Activity 3)

This activity assesses energy consumption patterns of various fuels by rural and peri-urban households, community institutions and small-scale enterprises, but also the financial implications and opportunities for scaling up energy services provision. The survey collects data on energy consumption and expenditure, ownership of appliances, socio-economic characteristics of households, dependence and usage of renewable energy, attitudes towards electricity, and gender-segregated energy needs. Instead of relying on the usual “recall” method, this activity uses an energy diary method to gather energy consumption and expenditure related information from selected households, capturing seasonal variations. Survey results can be used to derive the amount of energy used, as well as willingness to pay, which in turn would support the evaluation of investments in energy supply.

Terms of reference

Inception report

Inception report addendum

Data collection tools: household questionnaire; businesses and institutions questionnaire

Baseline report

Energy diary tools (upcoming)

Final report (upcoming)

Afghanistan Energy Diaries Annexes

Least Cost Electrification Plan (Activity 4)

Based on sound economic analysis of the different technology options, forecasted energy demand and energy resources’ potential, the proposed activity uses proven methodologies to spatially identify and prioritize areas that should be electrified either (i) by extension of the national grid, based on the national government’s generation and transmission development plans (including plans for imports) or (ii) through the provision of decentralized energy systems such as mini grids (e.g. diesel, hybrid diesel-renewables or renewables, especially small hydropower) and individual systems (i.e. solar home systems).  

A GIS approach to electrification planning in Afghanistan

This study develops a framework that allows for a “quick” electrification analysis and provides at a glance, useful insights over the technological options and investment requirements necessary to boost electricity access levels in Afghanistan.


Geo-Spatial Workshops

Led by KTH-DESA researchers, two three-day workshops were offered to GIS experts from various Afghan institutions, including the Afghan Energy Information Center (AEIC), the electric utility company DABS, the Capital Region Independent Development Authority (CRIDA), the Ministry of Energy and Water, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, The Afghan Geodesy and Cartography Head Office (AGCHO). Participants were introduced to the OnSSET tool (, and were offered hands-on experience with the electrification model, using results from various electrification scenarios. An open discussion on the functionality and usability of the tool in their national energy access planning efforts followed.

Geo-spatial workshop I (New Delhi, Feb 2017)


Presentations and instructions:

- Introduction to electricity for all

- ONSSET analysis for Afghanistan

- Introduction to online ONSSET

- Hands-on instructions

- Questions

Geo-spatial workshop II (Dubai, Jul 2017)


Presentations and instructions:

Introduction to basic concepts of Energy Planning

Introduction to basic GIS concepts

Introduction to online ONSSET (1)

Introduction to online ONSSET (2)

ONSSET analysis for Afghanistan

GIS Commands for Processing

- Hands-on instructions

- Instruction day 1

- Instructions day 2

Institutional Assessment (Activity 5) 

This activity carries out an institutional assessment of the Ministry of Energy and Water and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in order to understand their ability to expand energy supply to rural areas either via on- or off-grid endeavors and the institutional ability to technically support, finance as well as maintain such schemes. It involves among other activities a technical skills assessment for future investment operations, develops a capacity building plan and associated roadmap for the medium to long term and the provision of trainings and knowledge sharing events across ministries and other relevant entities both locally and internationally.

Terms of reference (upcoming)

Afghanistan Renewable Study (Activity 6)

This activity carries out an assessment of the renewable energy potential for Afghanistan in general. It also assesses and identifies feasible sites for on-grid renewable energy plants, with focus on solar energy sites using a GIS-based overlay model. A dedicated governmental working group has been set-up to support the study.

Report: Afghanistan Renewable Energy Development - Issues & Options

Report: Feasible solar ongrid sites (upcoming)

Afghanistan Energy Study Committee Meetings

Afghanistan Energy Study TenthComittee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Ninth Comittee Meeting
Afghanistan Energy Study Eighth Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Seventh Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Sixth Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Fifth Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Fourth Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Third Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study Second Committee Meeting

Afghanistan Energy Study First Committee Meeting

Further Information