Asian Development Bank released a statement on Thursday, December 3, approving $154 million to boost electric supply by extending the grid into the western provinces of Herat and Farah to ensure fair access.

“Herat and Farah are not connected to the national grid, leading to higher costs of doing business for people in these provinces, environmental degradation, and weak sustainable development indicators,” said ADB Energy Specialist Takhmina Mukhamedova. 

“Connecting villages in these two provinces to the grid will tangibly and sustainably improve health outcomes, living conditions, and economic opportunities for households living in the harshest conditions.”

The assistance includes 36.4 million from the Asian development fund, where the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) has provided the additional $118 million in co-finance with the government of Italy through NATO.

AITF administered by ADB was established in 2010 to improve the livelihoods of the Afghan people through infrastructure development.

This electrification of Western Afghanistan is a priority for the government in order to reduce social and economic costs associated with unsafe, non-clean affordable energy sources.

The project is expected to extend Power from Turkmenistan under the ongoing power purchase and sales agreement. This includes supplying power transmission from wind and solar photovoltaic projects of up to 100 megawatts and substituting electricity generated from diesel with renewable, imported gas-based grid power at a lower cost.

The project will finance first-time access to electricity in targeted areas, and is aligned with the government’s National Energy Supply Program, the statement reads.

ADB is one of Afghanistan’s largest on-budget development partners in the energy sector contributing about 1.77 billion in grants since 2002.

The financed project is part of an overall 1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program (2015-2024).