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Bamyan Renewable Energy Project, Afghanistan

In 2012 NETcon International (now Infratec) teamed up with Sustainable Energy Services International Ltd and won an $NZ18.6m Government contract in Afghanistan against strong competition from international suppliers. The Bamyan Renewable Energy Project entailed the construction of a sustainable electricity network for people living in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan.

The project was funded by the New Zealand Government's international aid and development programme with the purpose of leaving behind the “gift” of an off-grid, sustainable power supply to serve 2,490 homes in Bamyan that are currently without electricity. The project was completed in November 2013 and is among the largest off-grid power systems in the world.

The Bamyan Renewable Energy Project comprises of five 30kW to 400kW solar farms (totalling 1.05 MW), diesel generators and battery back-up system and a new overhead network supplying the homes with pre-pay meters. In addition to physical infrastructure construction, this project includes the capacity development of the local utility company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, and a significant consumer education programme.

The building of the power network involved the construction of a transmission and distribution system of poles and conductors to the villages of Bamyan, Haiderabad Mullagulam, Dragon Valley, and Nawabad Township. This involved the fitting and erection of 345 poles to carry the 21kV system, plus a further 264 poles to carry a 400V system for the 2,490 house connections.