October 22, 2013

25MW of Renewable Energy of 2025

The department of renewable energy (DRE) is in the process of drawing up guidelines and regulations to harness from renewable energy sources at least 25 megawatt (MW) of power by 2025.
The guidelines and regulations are to implement the alternative renewable energy policy (AREP) 2013, which was approved earlier this year.
“We’re working with various donors to get help,” the DRE director, Karma Tshering, said.
AREP will mainly promote renewable energy (RE) resources to ensure, develop, and shape national energy security and its options.  The policy will initiate power generation from solar, wind, and biomass. The target is that solar and biomass will generate 8MW each by 2025, while the wind energy will produce 5MW.
There are few projects that are already in place, which will come under AREP.  These include the installation of two wind turbines at Rubesa, Wangduephodrang, that should be up and spinning by June 2015.  The turbines will generate up to 250 kilowatts (KW) of energy each, enough to light up at least 100 village homes.
The sustainable rural biomass energy (SRBE) project, initiated to improve fuel wood efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide), which is already being implemented in the eastern district of Trashigang, will also come under AREP.
SRBE is in line with “the pilot stove program” that started back in 2005 but didn’t succeed because of financial problems. Now, with that problem solved, SRBE will cater more than 14,000 improved fuelwood stoves in all 20 dzongkhags by the end of 2015.
DRE is also working towards starting a gasification plant soon in one of the sawmills in the country, along with the biomass energy project.
“We’re also going to undertake a study to come up with a big solar power plant that can generate about 1MW,” the director said. “This hasn’t ever happened before in Bhutan.”
The first step, he said, will be to find out if the project is feasible in Bhutan, adding that, as of now, the country is only using the rooftop solar systems.  Rural homes that cannot be reached by grid electricity are supplied with roof top solar systems for lighting, Karma Tshering said.
“Now we want to see if we can come up with a mega solar project that actually can fit into the grid system,” he said. “This will be a large project, so we need to make a thorough study first.”
The renewable energy policy explains that, relying on a single electricity source, while fossil fuel imports are increasing and hydropower production dropping during winter, makes it critical to diversify the country’s energy source mix.
Numerous studies will start next year for the “potentiality” assessment of renewable energy sources.
“We say we ‘ll do this and that — but we have to know whether we’ve the potential to do it,” Karma Tshering said adding that a master plan study for each of the RE technologies will be carried out soon under the policy.  The findings will serve as a road map to embark on feasible projects in future.
Appropriate tariffs for various RE technologies will also be designed to offer secure and stable market to investors and project developers, with transparent, guaranteed and time-bound incentives provided by the government.
Meanwhile, DRE will carry out some “reconnaissance study” on small hydropower projects to see if some projects could be undertaken on a commercial basis.

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