Abdullah Fahimi, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

Afghanistan has one of the lowest rates of access to and usage of electricity in the world (World Bank, 2016a). Solid fuels (i.e. traditional biomass and coal) are the dominant sources of energy both in rural and in urban areas. Fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural waste, and animal dung are used to meet energy needs for cooking and heating. Demand for energy has grown twice the rate of economic growth during 2005-2012 (ADB, 2015). A percentage of the growing demand is met; since 2001, noticeable progress has been made in transitioning to modern forms of energy. Access to electricity has increased from 6% in 2002 to 30% in 2015 (World Bank, 2016b). Thousands of small-scale renewable energy projects have been implemented in rural areas (MEW, 2017). Policy and regulatory framework of the sector is taking shape as several key documents including laws, strategies, and policies have been developed. Energy transitions and the energy sector in Afghanistan remain under-researched. There are few studies that have analyzed the progress of the Afghan energy sector development since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 (Anwarzai & Nagasaka, 2016; Ershad, 2017; Ershad, Brecha, & Hallinan, 2016). Role of actors (especially aid agencies and the government), the governance of the sector, technology development (or in the case of Afghanistan, technology transfer as the capacity in the country is very low to develop technologies), and the transition to a new system remain under-researched. This research aims to provide insight into the energy transition in Afghanistan using existing literature on socio-technical transitions, political economy, technology transfer, and the role of aid agencies in developing countries and primary data through expert interviews. This research employs a qualitative methodology and case study approach relying mainly on primary data to be collected through semi-structured interviews with representatives of the Afghan government, major international aid agencies, bilateral donors, private sector, civil society, and academia. In addition to primary data, data from secondary sources such as policy documents, legal papers, meeting minutes, project reports, and media articles will also be analyzed.