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Work speeded up on Kandahar solar power projects

Work speeded up on Kandahar solar power projects

Sep 17, 2018 - 19:20

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Work has been accelerated on two solar power projects in southern Kandahar province after water level declined in Kajaki Dam and two turbines stopped functioning.

The Kajaki Dam in neighbouring Helmand province previously provided 20 megawatts of electricity to Kandahar, which has now reduced to seven megawatts.

For years, the residents and industrialists in Kandahar province have been demanding electricity to resolve their issues.

Amanullah Farooqi, Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) head, said work on two separate 10 and 30 MW solar power projects had been intensified and would be completed in coming weeks.

The 30 MW solar power project is being established in Daman district close to the airport while the 10 MW power project is being installed near the textile factory.

The 30MW project will cost $39 million which includes $14 million provided by the Afghan government, according to Farooqi.

He said the remaining amount would be provided by two Turkish firms for the 15 MW electricity project.

Work on the projects was launched in September 2017 after a delay lasting three years and at the time it was pledged the project would be completed in one year. but so far only work on the retaining walls and preparation of land has been completed.

Farooqi said they had accelerated efforts to complete the project in the next few months.

He said the issue electricity shortage being faced by the Kandahar industrial park would be totally resolved after completion of the two projects and electricity produced beyond the need of the park would be supplied to Kandahar city residents.

Kandahar industrial park is currently supplied electricity by generators running on fuel, but the production is not enough to meet the park’s requirement.

About Kajaki Dam’s hydropower, Farooqi said power turbines on the dam stopped due to the shortage of water in the reservoir.

“Generally the whole of the country and particularly Kandahar is seriously affected by drought and that is the reason the water level in Kajaki Dam reduced from 70 meters to 47 meters and it cannot run turbines”, he said.

Kandahar residents currently have access to only seven megawatts of electricity which is available for only seven or eight hours a day.

Three turbines are installed on Kajaki Dam and in the normal situation they produce 51 megawatts of electricity, of which 20 megawatts is supplied to Kandahar residents.

About extension of electricity from Kabul to Kandahar, Farooqi said that the imported electricity had reached Ghazni province and a survey for extending it to Kandahar had been completed.

He said efforts for land acquisition for power pylons installation from Ghazni to Kandahar were underway.

Eng. Ghorzan, an official at the solar power project, told Pajhwok that the project was 70 percent complete and the rest of other activities would also be completed in near future.

He said 50 percent of equipment for the project had arrived and the remaining equipment was on its way. The projects would be ready for use in the next six months, he added.

Kandahar investors and residents said they were happy over the new power projects, but complained about their slow implementation.

Faizulhaq Mushkani, deputy head of Kandahar Industrialists Association, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the shortage of electricity was a challenge for all residents, particularly factory owners.

He said 154 factories in Kandahar were semi-functional and another 135 plants had been closed due to the absence of electricity.

Many other investors were awaiting the solar power so they could run more factories, he said.

Mushkani said 200 factories active in Kandahar produced cotton, ghee, cotton cake, soap, ice, packages, plastic pipes, food items, drinks and others and employed around 5,000 people.

He said the power projects should be implemented on time and according to the promises.



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