Potential Assessment of Wind Solar and Geothermal Resources in Afghanistan for Sustainable Energy Industry
In ongoing of long conflict (almost forty years) and security issues in Afghanistan, there is electricity and environmental shortage issues. The conflict and climate changes to cause drought, air and water pollution, deforestation, soil degradation, overgrazing, desertification, and overpopulation in urban areas, for instance, Kabul city; the pollution always cover the city especially in winter when the wood and coal-fired space heaters provide the houses heating increase the pollution. Afghanistan is not an industrial country, the pollution comes from the transportation system and burning of the biomass and coals for cooking and heating. Before the civil war, there was electricity bus system in the Kabul city. The electricity networks is limited to the cities and province centers. The power demand is increasing year by year and day by day. However, all residents of the cities don’t have access to the electricity, and there is load covering issue, especially in Kabul city. The primary source of the electricity supply is the insecure and expensive imported power from the neighboring countries. However, there is the tremendous potential of renewable energies in the country. The existence of domestic clean energy resources, environmental issues, and decrease of renewable technologies cost created demand for power generation form the renewable resources. As the results, the total calculated implementable potential of annual generation would be; 342,521 GWh from wind energy, 140,982 GWh from solar PV, and about 6,000 GWh from CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) technologies those are 160 times of the existing power supply. In addition, the site potential or heat content of geothermal resources are above 5.6x1022Joule (equaling to 15.55x109 GWh). According to the Afghanistan’s power sector master plan, that the annual gross electricity demand would be 22,534.3GWh in 2032. This annual demand is equivalent to 8.11x1016 Joule energy. Only, the geothermal resources site potential is almost 0.69 million times of the required one year energy. Of course, the implementable potential of geothermal resources would be much less than the theoretical potential. The exploitable potential of geothermal resources require further analysis considering the environmental, economic, and technical feasibilities.