Status of Energy Consumption and Energy Efficiency Schemes in ...

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2015 IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence & Communication Technology

Status of Energy Consumption and Energy y Efficiency Schemes inn Bhutan’s Domestic Secctor Tshewang Lhendup* and Sima Das, membbers, IEEE Department of Electrical Engineerring College of Science and Technology, Phuentshholing, Bhutan * Email address: [email protected]

Tempa Tshering, Ugyen Penjjor and Dechen Choden Pelden Chodon and Cheku Dorji, D members, IEEE Department of Electrical Engineering College of Science and Technolo ogy, Phuentsholing, Bhutan

which is scheduled to complete by y the end of 2017 [5]. The Royal Government of Bhutan targeets to develop 10 000 MW of hydropower capacity by 2020 [6]. Bhutan also plans to harness another 20 MW through a mix of other renewable energy technologies by 2025 [7].The following paragraphs give brief account of the differentt forms of energy used in Bhutan’s domestic sector.

Abstract—Rapid depletion of the fossil fuels and pollution caused by electricity generation have changeed the nature of energy management from shaping and influencing demand to promoting reduced demand by means of eenergy efficiency strategies. Energy efficiency is also being emphasized and opportunities exist in both industrial and doomestic sectors of Bhutan. This paper presents the status of energy consumption, nergy efficiency in policies and strategies adopted to encourage en Bhutan’s domestic sector, and barriers and challenges to its implementation. The main barriers to enerrgy efficiency in Bhutan’s domestic sector identified in this papeer are regulatory, subsidized electricity tariff, financial and lack off awareness.

A. Electricity n is exclusively from Bhutan’s electricity generation hydropower plants. Annual do omestic consumption of electricity increased from 338 GWh h in 1995 [8] to 1901 GWh in 2013 [9]. The peak demand in the t country increased from 70 MW in 1995 [8] to 314 MW in 2013 [9]. In 2013, Bhutan exported 5648 GWh electricity to India which is more than M than 94% of rural 75% of total generation [6]. More population has access to grid electrricity [9]. Fig. 1 shows the electricity consumption in 2011 1 by different types of consumers. The domestic and com mmercial sectors accounted for 11% and 6% respectively whereas industries represented on [10]. The bulk consumer 80% of total electricity consumptio (institutional consumers) contribu ution to total electricity consumption was very minimal. Fig. 2 shows the electricity generation, consumption and exporrt over the period 2004 to 2011 [2]. The per capita electricity y consumption from 20082012 is shown in Fig. 3 [1]. The hig ghest increase was recorded in 2010 at 17%. Though the trend is i not consistent it is a very positive sign that people are switchiing over to cleaner energy.

Keywords—energy consumption, energy eff fficiency; Bhutan; energy-efficient technology;



Bhutan, situated in the Himalayas and sanddwiched between India and China has a total land area off 38 394 square kilometres with 70% of the area under forest cover. Out of the total population of 733 004, 70% lives in the rural areas [1]. The altitude varies from 100 m above the meaan sea level (msl) in the southern tropical region to 7550 m aboove the msl in the northern alpine region. Bhutan’s total primary energy consumption in 2011 was 326 687 metric tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) out of which more than 16% was due to the buildings [2]. Bhutan’s domestic sector consumed about 70% of the total energy supply and was predom minantly used for lighting, cooking and space heating. It has been reported that Bhutan has potential to save energy by using itt more efficiently and investing in energy efficient technologiees [3]. Improved energy efficiency is therefore vital to redduce the energy consumption in Bhutan. The aim of this paperr is to review the current energy situation in Bhutan and strategies and policies adopted to promote energy efficiency in the doomestic sector.





The main energy resources are hydropower and fuelwood. Bhutan has no proven deposits of fossil fuell and depends on imports for the entire fossil fuel requirement. However, Bhutan is blessed with significant hydropoweer potential from the rivers flowing from north to south. Bhutan’s total GW of which 16 hydropower potential is estimated to be 30 G GW is said to be techno-economically viablee. Bhutan has so far installed only 1488 MW [4] of hydropoweer plants which is only 9% of total hydropower techno-economically feasible. Another 2910 MW hydropower plant is underr implementation, 978-1-4799-6023-1/15 $31.00 © 2015 IEEE DOI 10.1109/CICT.2015.56

11% %

Commercial Industry 80%

Bulk supply

Fig. 1. Electricity consumption by diffeerent consumers in 2011 [10]


8000 Export Generation Electricity (GWh)





0 2004







Fig. 2.. Electricity generation, consumption and export growth [2]



Electricity (kWh)

2500 2000



58 8%

Fuel wood

1000 500 0

Fig. 4. Thermal energy consump ption in buildings by fuel [2] 2008


2010 Year



C. Biogas Biogas was started in Bhutaan in 1980s as clean and renewable energy source for cook king and lighting to reduce use of fuelwood. About 57 biogass plants were installed based on fixed dome design during the period 1980 and 1981 [15], which were predominantly used for lighting purposes. But due to the poor technical design n, lack of spare parts and technical skills, biogas project waas not successful. However, the situation has now improveed significantly. With the support of Department of Reenewable Energy (DRE), Department of Livestock (DoL), Bhutan Development Bank (BDB), Netherlands Developmen nt Organization (SNV) and Asian Development Bank (ADB B), more than 1200 biogas plants have been installed based on o fixed dome design during the period from March 2011 to February 2014, which are also predominantly being used forr cooking [16, 17] .

Fig. 3. Per capita electricity consumption [[1]

B. Fuelwood Biomass is being used as a primary coooking fuel by nearly 40% of the world’s population [11] aand majority of households in developing countries depend onn solid fuels for cooking and heating [12]. Fuelwood has beenn the traditional source of energy in Bhutan, which is availabble abundantly from the country’s extensive forest cover. It hhas been an age old traditional source of energy and people inn Bhutan have been using it since then for space heating, cooking and lighting. Fuelwood accounted for 70% of naational primary energy supply in 2002 [8] and has decreased tto 57% in 2005 [13]. A recent study in 10 districts found thatt the per capita fuelwood consumption in the country has decrreased from 1.3 metric tonnes (MT) in 2013 to 1.17 MT in 2014 [14]. Out of which more than 43% is attributed to space heeating and 41% for fodder preparation and the rest for cookking. Similarly, fuelwood consumption accounted for 18 012 M MTOE which is 58% of the total thermal energy consumption in buildings as shown in Fig. 4 [2].

D. Petroleum Products ducts towards total energy The share of petroleum prod consumption in Bhutan is quite large. l Diesel and petrol are used for transport sector while kerosene k is mainly used for lighting purpose and in some casees for cooking, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is entirely ussed for cooking. The


electricity consumption in the country, there are significant scopes of applying energy efficient technologies in this sector. Substantial work has been done in promoting the energy efficient technologies. The Department of Renewable Energy with the support from United Nations Development Programme conducted an energy efficiency baseline study to assess the energy consumption and efficiency levels of the four sectors: industry, transport, buildings and agriculture [2]. The report highlights the barriers, challenges and strategies to promote energy efficiency in Bhutan.

Total quantity (ML)





0 2006







A. Energy efficient technologies a) Improved Cooking Stoves Bhutanese uses fuelwood for cooking in rural areas and space heating in both rural and urban areas. Traditionally rural Bhutanese use mud cooking stoves shown in Fig. 6 which have low efficiency. The smokeless stoves also called as the improved cooking stoves (ICS) shown in Fig. 7 were introduced in the mid-eighties but were not successful as it did not meet the needs of traditional cooking [23]. However, the ICS were found to be more efficient as compared to the traditional mud stoves. It may be noted that the trend is now changing and are gradually being replaced with electric cookers and LPG stoves. Another attempt has been made by the government and private sector to improve the Bukhari (wood fed stoves) used for space heating in the urban areas (Fig. 8). It can also be used for cooking meals. Bukhari normally made of metal with chimney and is portable. The users of Bukhari have claimed that it is more cost effective as compared to electric heaters and blowers. However, the use of Bukhari is also gradually decreasing as more energy efficient radiator oil heaters and kerosene heaters are being imported to encourage use of cheap electricity and to reduce CO2 emissions from burning of fuelwood.

Fig. 5. Import of petroleum products during the last seven years [18]

imports of petroleum products have increased from US$ 27 million in 2004 to more than US$ 100 million in 2013 which is 60% of the annual electricity export revenue [18]. This is further expected to increase. Fig. 5 shows annual import of petroleum products during the period 2006 – 2012 [18]. E. Solar and wind The use of solar and wind energy in Bhutan is very minimal. At present only a few thousand solar home lighting systems are being installed as an alternative to grid electrification in isolated communities. With an average solar radiation of 4.5 kWh m-2day-1 in Bhutan, solar energy could be an alternative to conventional fuel sources. As of 2009, a total of 0.24 MW has been installed [19]. Currently, a 6 kW off-grid and 5 kW on-grid solar PV system is being installed at the College of Science and Technology as demonstration projects. Although wind energy resource is a fast growing form of renewable energy but its use in Bhutan is almost negligible due to more reliable hydropower. Nevertheless, a 600 kW pilot wind power project has been planned and will be operational by February 2016 [20]. F. Coke and coal Coke and coal is being used in food processing units, limekilns, and candle and brick factories. At present Bhutan exports coal to India and Bangladesh and at the same time imports coal from India as the coal mined in Bhutan is not suitable for different use in factories in Bhutan. III.


Realising the advantages of energy efficient technologies, several countries have started to implement a wide range of policy measures on energy efficiency. It has been reported that increasing energy efficiency has a potential to save 20% of the primary energy consumption [21]. Energy efficiency schemes have also been identified as one of the strategies to address the challenges of energy security, climate change and economic development [19, 22]. To cope with the rising energy demand in both rural and urban areas, Bhutan has been promoting energy efficient technologies with the aim to reduce the use of energy in buildings and use the available energy efficiently. As the domestic sector of Bhutan accounts for 90% and 11% of the total fuelwood and

Fig. 6. Mud cooking stove [24]

Fig. 7. Improved cooking stoves


efficiency standards and labeling ( EESL) over five years could save 5 to 8 MW in peak demand [26]. This could result in energy saving of 12 GWh over the five years [26]. 375


Fig. 8. A typical Bukhari

b) Buildings Buildings in Bhutan are substantially made of brickconcrete structure. The roofs are mainly made of corrugated iron sheet with most windows provided with single-glass aluminum or timber frames. In general, the building envelopes are not insulated and don’t meet the minimum requirements of standards for energy efficient buildings. Energy efficiency could be implemented during the design and construction phase with common local materials. Wall could be constructed with hollow blocks with adequate insulation. Along with the retention of existing roof design, insulating measures may be adopted on the roof. Realising the imminent need to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings, the department of engineering services, ministry of works and human settlement, royal government of Bhutan has taken initiative to prepare Bhutan green building guidelines [25]. These guidelines provide information on various aspects of buildings to help design and construct a sustainable building.










Demand (MW)

Customers (x1000)



0 2007







Fig. 9. Domestic demand and number of customers [27]

Bhutan being in the cold region has two load profiles, summer and winter. Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 shows the typical daily load profiles in 2013 for Thimphu and Phuentsholing, two largest cities in Bhutan [27]. The winter peak load in Thimphu was 14 MW more than the corresponding summer peak load. This peak load was due to use of electric heaters in winter. The use of more efficient oil radiator heaters could have reduced the peak load substantially. On the contrary, the summer peak load in Phuentsholing was 3 MW more than the corresponding winter peak load. The high demand in summer is due to the use of air conditioners as Phuentsholing has hot and humid summer.

c) Efficient Electricity Use Although the industry sector is the major consumer of electricity in Bhutan, the demand in the domestic sector has also increased considerably over the period as shown in Fig. 9. Therefore, the potential of applying energy efficient technology in the domestic sector is also quite high. The majority of the domestic consumers use incandescent lamps with few using fluorescent lamps. Therefore, the options for applying energy efficient technology in the domestic sector include encouraging use of fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). The fluorescent lamps have high efficiency as compared to incandescent lamps. The compact fluorescent lamps could achieve energy saving up to 80% as compared to incandescent lamps [26]. However, both fluorescent lamps and CFL are very expensive and moreover, the users are not aware of the advantages of such lamps. It is projected that energy saving measures can help to reduce electricity consumption in residential sector up to 27% by 2020 [13]. Bhutan Power Corporation once promoted energy efficient lighting by offering 50% subsidy for compact fluorescent lamps but has been discontinued.

40 Summer

Load (MW)


















Fig. 10. Daily load profile of Thimphu in 2009 [27]

B. barriers and challenges of energy efficiecy schemes The barriers and challenges of energy efficiency schemes in Bhutan are grouped into four: regulatory, subsidized electricity tariff, financial and lack of awareness. a) Regulatory As of today Bhutan does not have any Acts, Laws or Regulations that mandates the customers to implement energy efficiency measures both in domestic and industrial

The electricity consumption can also be reduced by using energy efficient or star rated appliances. The effectiveness of this will depend on the import regulations as most of the appliances are imported from other countries. A study conducted by Nexant found that by applying energy


sectors. These regulations/acts are important to provide the legal basis for implementing the program. This is further compounded by the relatively low cost of electricity due to which customers have no incentive or are not coerced to implement energy efficiency measures.

lack of awareness and beliefs in past practices [28]. Similarly, the majority of Bhutanese live in rural areas and are ardent Buddhist. Past practices are accorded high value and switching over to any new system may be viewed as unnecessary. Thus, the relevant organizations in Bhutan have to initiate intensive public awareness campaigns and educate the customers about the benefits of the energy efficiency measures.

10 Summer Load (MW)




Fuelwood constitutes the major energy contributor in the domestic sector of Bhutan. As 90% of the total fuelwood consumption in Bhutan is by the domestic sector, there is high potential to reduce energy consumption by using improved cooking stoves and switching over to energy efficient electric cookers. The energy efficient lighting system also has high potential in the domestic sector but due to high initial cost and lack of awareness about the benefits of an energy efficient lighting system, people still prefer to adhere to traditional methods. The barriers to energy efficiency schemes have been identified as regulatory, subsidized electricity tariff, financial and lack of awareness.

6 4 2












0 0:00


Fig. 11. Daily load profile of Thimphu in 2010 [27]

b) Subsidized electricity tariff It is widely believed that energy prices are one of the important variables that affect the effectiveness of the energy efficiency schemes. In Bhutan, electricity price has been identified as a key variable which affects the strength of energy efficiency measures and its use [2]. The low electricity price discourages energy efficiency measures but instead lead to inefficient usage of electricity. When the price of electricity is low, there is no motivation on the part of the consumer to conserve energy.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT Sima Das, Tempa Tshering, Ugyen Penjor and Dechen Choden would like to thank the College of Science and Technology for sponsoring summer research internship. REFERENCES [1] [2]

c) Financial barrier Lack of funding and financial incentives is another deterrent factor in implementing energy efficiency schemes. The energy efficient lighting systems like fluorescent lamps and CFLs are very expensive. The price of fluorescent lamps and CFL in Bhutan are about US$ 4-5 respectively whereas 60 W incandescent lamp cost only US$ 0.25. This huge difference in price of lamps deters people from switching over to a more efficient lighting system, as electricity is cheaply available in Bhutan. So, the alternative is to subsidize the price of these energy efficient lighting technologies and regulate the supply of these lamps. However, such initiatives would help the rich peoples as they consume more energy than others. Alternatively, providing financial assistance to the poor to switchover to energy efficient technologies may be more effective than the subsidies.

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d) Lack of awareness The success of any energy efficiency strategies depend on changing consumer attitudes towards energy consumption. A study done in electrified regions of Sri Lanka found that although the people were aware of the energy efficient lighting, many did not switch over to it due to exorbitant initial cost. Also the study revealed that people did not switch over to more efficient cooking stoves due to


[14] [15]


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