Institutional Development for Energy in Afghanistan (IDEA)

Solar panels © GIZ

Project description

Title: Institutional Development for Energy in Afghanistan (IDEA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW)
Overall term: 2015 to 2017


Getting power from the socket is still a rarity in Afghanistan. Just one third of the population has access to electricity. Political reforms and significant public and private investments are needed to improve power supply. A secure legal framework for private investments and private plant operators must first be created or modified for this to happen. Since 2002, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support Afghanistan in expanding the energy sector through renewables.


The population, companies and public institutions have access to energy that is generated in an environmentally sound and climate-friendly manner. Afghan institutions and professionals are trained in order to create the general conditions for reliable power supply.


The Institutional Development for Energy in Afghanistan (IDEA) programme supports the Government of Afghanistan in four areas:

  1. National level. Partners receive advice on developing the political and legal prerequisites for better energy supply. Energy policies are revised, and strategies are developed. The programme strengthens the institutions involved by having them jointly clarify their roles and mandates, formalise responsibilities and define tasks more precisely. Moreover, it delivers training for the staff on their duties.
  2. Coordination and cooperation. Structures and mechanisms ensure that energy policies are geared and directed towards local conditions and needs − not only at the national level but above all between the national and provincial level. All participating ministries and authorities are involved in creating structures.
  3. Private sector. The required legal and financial framework is drafted for desired private sector investments. The programme strengthens the Afghan Renewable Energy Union (AREU) founded in 2013 to represent the interests of the private sector.
  4. Consumers and businesses. Information for consumers and businesses is prepared and made available. Computerised databases for renewables and energy efficiency are further developed to this end.

The programme also supports vocational training on operating renewable energy plants. The issue of energy efficiency in buildings is explored so that it can be integrated into Afghan building regulations.

GFA Consulting-Group performs some of the programme’s activities.


The following results have been achieved to date with support from GIZ:

  • The Government has adopted five laws and strategies, including the Renewable Energy Policy and the Electricity Supply Law.
  • The Government has officially recognised and mandated a committee that aims to improve coordination between ministries and institutions (Renewable Energy Coordination Committee, RECC).
  • The division of roles and duties between the participating ministries and the energy provider DABS has been clarified. The Ministry of Energy and Water is the ministry in charge of the energy sector. GIZ advises the Ministry on organisational development and sector coordination. Skills and responsibilities are clarified, job descriptions are developed and areas of responsibility are defined.
  • Provincial energy committees (PECs) supported by GIZ coordinate implementation of public energy plans in the five northern provinces of Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan and Balkh. Other provinces want to establish committees too.
  • Curricula and training materials on hydropower and using solar power have been developed for use in technical and vocational education and training. Some 73 technicians and 32 students have completed their training.
  • An initial analysis of companies in the renewable energy sector has been performed for the AREU. A market study on photovoltaics is in progress.
  • The energy transition has begun: 500 megawatts of power is to be generated from renewable sources by 2020 in keeping with the five-year plan. GIZ assists the Ministry of Energy and Water in conducting invitations to tender for the first 17 plants to receive permits.