Effort to save energy with LED bulbs begins

The government hopes to eventually replace all bulbs in the country with more efficient LED

Energy: In an effort to reduce electricity consumption, a project to provide the public with subsidized Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs was launched at the Changjiji housing complex in Thimphu, yesterday.

With an average lifespan of 25,000 hours (17 years at four hours daily usage), the 9-watt LED bulb is expected to reduce costs seven fold, without compromising the brightness.

This means residents of the Changjiji housing complex will now be able to save about 75 units of electricity annually which translates to Nu 173 a bulb every year.

Initiated by the Department of Renewable Energy, economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk, launched the pilot project at the Changjiji children’s park yesterday.

The project aims to replace all incandescent bulbs in the country. There is an estimated 700,000 incandescent bulbs in use, according to the government.

With financial assistance from the Government of Norway, under the Energy Plus Programme, the department will replace around 26,500 incandescent bulbs in the country.

An LED bulb will be sold at a subsidized rate of Nu 100 to the public.

Phase I of the project will supply 15,000 LED bulbs throughout the country. Thimphu will receive 3,107 LED bulbs of which 2,900 bulbs will be sold to Changjiji residents from today.

The executive engineer with the research and development division, Dawa Chhoedron, said that the bulbs will be distributed through Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) outlets. She added that all domestic consumers will be entitled to a maximum of four LED bulbs on a first-come-first-service basis.

“Individuals wanting to buy the bulbs need to bring a copy of the latest electricity bill issued by BPC (Bhutan Power Corporation) and a citizenship identity card for verification,” she said.

A contract agreement for six months was also signed between the department and FCB at the launch yesterday.

It is estimated that around 700,000 incandescent bulbs lights some 140,000 households across the country, according to a press release from the department. The 700,000 bulbs consume about 168,000 units of energy worth Nu 390,000 everyday.

If all the 700,000 incandescent bulbs are replaced, the country could save up to 61.320 million (M) units worth Nu 142M, states the press release.

According to officials, of the 26,500 LED bulbs bought at a cost of Nu 4.7M, 23,840 bulbs will be for residential use and the remaining 2,666 bulbs for public institutions.

Officials said that if all the 26,500 LED bulbs are distributed and used, an annual saving of 2M units of energy is expected. The saving will then earn an additional income of Nu 4.64M at the average domestic tariff price of Nu 2.32 per unit.

Since LED bulbs last for about 20 years, the consumers can expect energy savings worth Nu 14,000 before they are replaced, it is stated in the press release.

Phub Gyeltshen, a resident of Changjiji said that one of the biggest concerns for most people is reducing their electricity costs. “I definitely need this bulb at my house,” he said. “I’ll be the first person at the FCB door tomorrow.”

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk also donated 2,000 LED down-lights, which can be used round the clock, to the Thimphu referral hospital at the launch.

The minister said that the initiative is to make people aware of the benefits of LED bulbs and help in the gradual phasing out of inefficient incandescent bulbs. “Once the benefits of the LED bulbs are demonstrated, the market force will pick up,” he said. “There will be demand and so will there be the supply.

Younten Tshedup

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