Study recommends funding three Afghan small hydro projects

A consultant’s report recommends the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provide US$48.26 million to help develop three small hydropower projects in rural areas of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water awarded a contract to Engconsult Ltd. of Canada and ECL Consultants Ltd. of Bangladesh to assess a proposed small to medium hydropower development program intended to invest in power projects for underserved and off-grid areas of Afghanistan. (HNN 2/24/06)

The ADB-funded US$709,840 contract included a review of existing hydropower assessment work and preparation of a project suitable for external financing.

The report recommends proceeding with rehabilitation of one hydro project and construction of two new projects for a total of 21.5 MW and a total cost of US$70.3 million.

Projects include:
o Rehabilitation of grid-connected 9-MW Puli Khumri 2 on the Kunduz River in Baghlan Province at a cost of US$18.9 million;
o Construction of non-grid-connected 2.1-MW Baharak on the Warduj River in Badakhshan Province at a cost of US$23.8 million; and
o Construction of grid-connected 10.4-MW Khanabad 2 on the Khanabad River in Kunduz Province at a cost of US$27.6 million.

The consultants performed feasibility studies of a total of six projects from which the three were chosen. Because the consultants were limited to selecting on three projects, the report said two other projects were worthy of development but not recommended:
o Rehabilitation of 1-MW Jabal Suraj in Parwan Province at a cost of US$5.5 million; and
o Construction of non-grid-connected 2.1-MW Mana Gai in Kunar Province at a cost of US$23.5 million.

The sixth project, construction of 4.1-MW Ghowr in Ghowr Province at a cost of US$33.1 million, was found not economically or financially feasible. However, the report said it might be justified on social considerations because it is located in the poorest and most remote part of the country.

Procurement of construction would be by turnkey contracts for each project awarded by international bidding. Additionally, 246 person-months of international consultants and 268 person-months of domestic consultants would be required for detailed engineering design and construction supervision.

The technical assistance report may be obtained from the ADB Internet site at www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/Consultant/39078-AFG/39078-AFG-TACR.pdf. For information, contact Engconsult Ltd., 24 Queen St. E., Suite 201, Brampton, Ontario L6W 3P1 Canada; (1) 905-455-7892; Fax: (1) 905-455-2351.

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