Bhutan harnesses wind power for electricity

A wind farm of two turbines in Wangdue is expected to be expanded

Energy: Bhutan is now also generating electricity using the wind instead of only water.

At least 300 houses were provided with wind powered electricity from yesterday following the inauguration of two 300kw wind turbines in Rubesa, Wangdue.

“This is a historic day for renewable energy in Bhutan,” said Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who commissioned the two wind turbines.

lyonchoen

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay inaugurates the wind turbines yesterday

The two turbines were developed at a total cost of Nu 177 million (M). The Asian Development Bank providing financing with a grant of Nu 163M (USD 2.7M). Construction of the two turbines began in 2014.

The two turbines can generate electricity for 300 households, said officials with the renewable energy department. This is calculated on the basis that each households consumes 2kw.

Up to 24 wind turbines of 300kw capacity each could be installed in the Rubesa area, however, officials said this could not happen because the proposed sites fall under private land.

However, the government is determined to work with the concerned landowners and explore up-scaling the scheme under various development models.

Officials said it is necessary to gain practical experience in planning, constructing and operating the wind farm, before up-scaling the technology.

Rubesa was selected over Tsimasham in Chukha and Chelela in Haa following three years of assessment.

Officials said that the development of a wind farm requires careful selection and various criteria had to be fulfilled.

This project was developed with the primary objective to demonstrate the technical feasibility of generating wind power. It is expected that wind power can alleviate power shortage Bhutan experiences during the lean seasons.

The project was executed by the renewable energy department and implemented by the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC).

The project was handed over to BPC for operation and maintenance.

The two turbines were initially scheduled to be inaugurated on National Day, last year, however, it was delayed due to logistical problems.

The economic affairs minister Norbu Wangchuk, health minister Tandin Wangchuk, Punatsangchu managing director, Wangdue dzongda and other officials attended the ceremony.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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