Improving energy supply, promoting institutions

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 2018

copyright-Projekt IDEA-three renewable power schemes to DABS_0


Mains electricity is still a rarity in Afghanistan. Only one third of the population has access to electrical power. In addition to technical advances, improving the supply of energy requires further political reform and significant public and private investments. Among other things, it will require a secure legal framework for private investments and private plant operators. Since 2002, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) to help Afghanistan develop its energy sector by adding more renewable energy.


The general population, companies and public institutions have access to electricity produced in an environmentally sound and climate-friendly way. Afghan institutions and professionals are trained so they can create the basic conditions for a reliable power supply.


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

  • National level: The project supports the partners in developing the necessary political and legal framework for an improved energy supply. Energy measures are being revised and strategies developed. The institutions involved are strengthened by jointly clarifying their roles and mandates, formalising responsibilities and defining tasks more precisely. The staff are trained in carrying out their tasks.
  • Coordination and cooperation: Structures and mechanisms at national level and, above all, between the national and provincial levels ensure that energy measures are orientated and aligned to the local circumstances and requirements. All the stakeholder ministries and authorities are involved in the development of structures.
  • Private sector: The necessary legal and financial framework is being developed to allow the desired investments from the private sector. The Afghan Renewable Energy Union (AREU), founded in 2013, is being strengthened to represent the interests of the private sector.
  • Consumers and companies: Key information from the energy sector for consumers and companies is being prepared and made available in computer-supported databases for renewable energies and energy efficiency.

In addition, the programme supports continuing vocational development for the operation of renewable energy plants.

The topic of “energy efficiency in buildings” is being integrated into the Afghan building code and prepared accordingly. Some programme activities are being or have been carried out by the GFA Consulting Group.


The Government has passed five laws and strategies, including the renewable energies policy and the electricity supply act.

The Government officially recognised and mandated a committee to improve coordination between ministries and institutions (Renewable Energy Coordination Committee, RECC).

The division of roles and tasks between the ministries involved and the electricity utility DABS has been clarified and agreed. The Ministry of Energy and Water is the lead ministry in the energy sector. GIZ advises the ministry on organisational development and sector coordination. The powers and responsibilities are clear, job descriptions have been created and task areas have been defined.

In the five northern provinces (Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan and Balkh), Provincial Energy Committees (PEC) supported by GIZ coordinate the implementation of state energy plans. Further provinces have also expressed an interest in setting up committees.

Curricula and teaching materials on hydroelectric and solar power generation have been developed for training courses, and 73 technicians and 32 students have already completed their training.

An initial analysis of companies in the renewable energy sector and a market study for photovoltaic power are being conducted for the employers’ association AREU. The shift to renewable energy has begun. The five-year plan foresees that 500 MW of renewable energy capacity/power plants will have been added by 2020. GIZ is supporting the Ministry of Energy and Water with the tendering procedure for the first plants to be approved.