Photograph by Benjamin Lowy
In an article I read by APRIL RABKIN
she says, "In Afghanistan, living off the grid isn't a tree hugger's dream -- it's reality. but a renewable-power startup called Sustainable Energy Services Afghanistan is lighting up Afghans' lives, with help from the sun and the wind."
IN THE WEST, LIVING OFF THE GRID MAY BE AN ASPIRATION FOR SOME
bleeding-heart eco-warriors. In Afghanistan, it is reality. Eighty percent of the country does not have electricity.
Even if someone were to build a new major power plant, it would be largely useless because there is no national electrical grid, and given Afghanistan's devilish terrain, with the jagged skyscraping peaks and the gash-in-the-earth valleys, there never will be. "You just can't string power lines all over the country," says Ahmad Saboor Arya, an engineer at the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
That makes Afghanistan the perfect place for small renewable-power installations with enough capacity to electrify a village.