SUITABILITY OF RENEWABLE MICRO-GENERATION TECHNOLOGY IN HELMAND PROVINCE AND POSSIBLE ISSUES THAT MAY ARISE FROM THEIR INTRODUCTION
There is a requirement to write a technical essay on the suitability of various micro-generation schemes for use within Helmand province in Afghanistan and the possible issues that may arise from their introduction.
This essay highlights the following aspects of the micro-generation schemes within Helmand province in Afghanistan:
a. Overview of energy sector in Afghanistan
b. Micro-generation potential in Afghanistan.
c. Suitability of micro-generation technology in Helmand province.
Micro-generation is the production of heat and power on a very small scale, to supply the energy requirements of individual households, small businesses and communities, either as an alternative power source or as a supplement to the centralised grid power.
In a centralised electricity supply system, approximately 65% of the primary energy input is lost due to the heat wasted in centralised production. Micro-generation and other de-centralised technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce these losses. The heat generated through a localised electricity production can be used for space and water heating in the immediate vicinity.
Micro-generation potential in Afghanistan
The topography and predominant climatic conditions in Afghanistan offer the following micro-generation potential from various natural resources:
a. Micro-hydro power.
b. Solar energy.
c. Wind energy.
d. Hybrid energy systems.
Overview of micro-generation potential in Afghanistan
Micro-Hydro power potential. Currently the installed capacity for hydro power in Afghanistan is 304 MW, of which about 45 MW comes from small hydro power. There is a high economic potential for small, mini and micro hydro power systems especially in the mountainous regions in the Northern, South-eastern and South-western Afghanistan, including Helmand province.
a. Government backed schemes. Since 2003, PRTs (Provincial Reconstruction Teams), funded by USAID, have installed more than 125 micro hydro power units in different provinces across Afghanistan. HPRT (Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Teams), with the help of GIRoA (Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) are actively involved in such schemes in the province.
b. Costs. The average cost of equipment and materials for micro hydro power units is approximately $3500 per village. There are at least 30 Afghan manufacturers located throughout Afghanistan manufacturing inexpensive cross-flow turbines and associated components sufficient to produce between 3 and 50kW of power from water resources.
Solar power potential. Studies from various organisations suggest that Afghanistan has a high potential for solar energy development because the skies are sunny for more than 300 days a year and solar radiation averages about 6.5 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day. This solar potential can be effectively harnessed by the use of solar heaters and photovoltaic cells on a domestic scale in Aghanistan. There are several government-backed schemes that promote the use of such solar energy modules. For e.g. in December 2006, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of Afghanistan and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India awarded a project to Central Electronics Limited (CEL) for solar electrification of 100 villages in Afghanistan. Distributed solar power can be installed in non-grid connected rural...