It's Not Easy Being Afghanistan's First Wind Farm

panjshir valley afghanistan first wind farm turbines photo

Afghan security forces watch over a new wind farm in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul David Ondik.

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of promising talk about bringing renewable energy to developing countries. Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, a generally windy region where less than a quarter of the population has access to electricity, must have seemed like an obvious place for a wind farm. But little seems to be easy these days in Afghanistan, even in one of its safer regions.
As Al Jazeera reports this week, the new mountaintop installation--surrounded by hundreds of old Soviet land mines--was supposed to bring power and hot water to the local governor's new office. But its operation already been crippled by the accidental severing of a power line during road-construction work. The governor's office is using a diesel generator instead, while poor villagers continue to light their homes with oil lamps.

The reporter seems to be enjoying a bit of schadenfreude at the expense of the American government, which spent almost $1 million on the project, one of the green-energy initiatives it touted as helping "move Afghanistan forward." Still, the shots of the rushing Panjshir River, and his laments that locals don't have enough money for turbines to convert its flow to energy, show that there is potential for renewable power here--it just comes with more than the usual obstacles. Via: AlJazeera
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