IEA orders ministries to prioritize ‘generation of power through coal’

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Economic Commission, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, on Sunday gave orders for various ministries to prioritize projects to generate electricity by using coal.

In a statement, the commission said after “extensive discussions on all issues that the private sector is prepared to invest in” it was decided that the generation of electricity should be a priority.

According to the statement, the commission instructed the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; the Chamber of Industry and Mines; as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, under the leadership of the Ministry of Energy and Water, to generate electricity from coal for industrial parks, and large cities among other sectors.

The commission also ordered the relevant bodies to “set priorities according to the volume of coal and the need for electricity, and then start working on it”.

Afghanistan currently generates over 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity from several hydroelectric plants as well as using fossil fuel and solar panels. However, an addition 670 MW is imported from neighboring Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan but holds 73 million tons of proven coal reserves as of 2016, ranking 62nd in the world.

However, estimates put the total reserves at between 100 million and 400 million tons.

A shortage of power has plagued Afghanistan for decades despite having ample hydropower, coal and fossil fuel resources.

But one successful private partnership has been through Bayat Power, Afghanistan’s largest, Afghan-owned and operated Power Production Company which has the region’s most technologically advanced gas fired electric power plant.

Launched in 2019, this commercial operation provides reliable and affordable electric power to thousands of people in Afghanistan.

Located in Sherberghan, in the north of the country, the epicenter of the nation’s gas-rich region, Bayat Power has steadfastly aimed to provide essential power for Afghanistan’s economic growth.

Powered by a Siemens SGT-A45 ‘Fast Power’ turbine, the world’s most advanced mobile gas to energy power solution, phase one of Bayat Power-1’s operations generates up to 41 megawatts of power for Afghan homes and businesses.

Bayat Power hopes however to eventually roll out three phases in total, that will generate more than 200 megawatts of electricity – enough to serve millions of Afghan residential and commercial clients.