HOUSTON, Jan. 17 — The United States Energy Association urged US Sec. of State Colin Power to put energy funding on the agenda when donor nations meet to discuss Afghanistan’s reconstruction in Tokyo later this month.
The USEA, an organization of public and private energy-related organizations, is the US member committee of the Word Energy Council. “The US energy industry is highly interested and concerned about the priority given to energy in the Afghanistan reconstruction,” the USEA wrote in a letter earlier this week. “Energy is the foundation for economic development and is critical to be able to restore health care, education, transportation, and other economic sectors.”
The organization expressed similar concern in companion letter to Andrew S. Natsios, administrator for the US Agency for the International Development. Barry Worthington, executive director, said USEA members were willing to volunteer engineering and management expertise in the reconstruction effort. He noted USEA members participated in assessment visits to Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia in the early 1990s, after the Soviet Union broke up.
Worthington said it’s well and good to build medical clinics in Afghanistan but it doesn’t make sense to use diesel engines to supply electricity in the long-term. “Diesel will be great for 6 months or so,” he said. Worthington noted the country has only about 400 Mw of electricity to serve a nation of about 25 million people.
“US industry possesses world-class energy technology and management expertise that can swiftly to rebuild damaged power plants and transmission systems, deliver distributed generation to underserved places and power relief and reconstruction efforts,” USEA said in the letter to Powell.
USEA said it has created a working group to support US efforts, and, as a first step, is prepared to help assess the short-term and long-term energy requirements of the reconstruction effort, including the potential for a US bilateral energy initiative.
The international community has scheduled a meeting Jan. 20-21 in Tokyo to discuss $8-$9 billion in aid for the war torn country. USEA asked to meet with representatives from the State Department after the meeting to discuss what role it can play in reconstruction. Worthington said the State Department hasn’t yet responded to the letter.
The United States Energy Association urged US Sec. of State Colin Powell to put energy funding on the agenda when donor nations meet to discuss rebuilding Afghanistan later this month.