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Small to Medium Hydropower Development, Afghanistan

When:                   March 2006 to April 2007

Client:                   EngConsult Ltd., Toronto, Canada

Ultimate clients:     Asian Development Bank (ADB)
                            Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW), Afghanistan

I was Team Leader and Economist on this Project, the objective of which was to provide the ADB with recommendations on funding three small to medium hydro projects in Afghanistan, in the range of 1 MW to about 10 MW.

The assignment was a three-stage technical assistance project to the Government of Afghanistan to 1) conduct a reconnaissance/ ranking study of 60 identified hydro sites in the 1 MW to 10 MW range 2) conduct pre-feasibility studies on 7 of these potential hydro projects and 3) conduct feasibility studies on 5 of the projects. Although the conduct of the study was driven by these project analyses, it also included preparation of a sector analysis and a diagnostic assessment and development of an institutional strengthening plan for the MEW and other relevant Afghan agencies.

I led a multi-disciplinary team of international experts and Afghan nationals, comprising hydropower, civil, geotechnical, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as hydrologists, economists, social experts and financial analysts in carrying out the work. This included coordinating and gathering input from all team members and then preparing the reports at the end of each stage of the study.

I also prepared the requisite power sector analysis and the economic analysis for each potential project studied, and was involved in every other aspect of the work in terms of quality control. The economic analysis, carried out by me, was in accordance with ADB guidelines and was based on willingness-to-pay in the case of small isolated developments. In the case of grid-connected projects, the analyses were based on electricity displacement caused by the hydro project on other parts of the Afghanistan grid.