Energy saving policy was launched yesterday

Tshering Dorji

The government could bring in additional revenue of Nu 336M annually by improving energy efficiency and standards in four major sectors: building, appliances, transport and industry.

The energy efficiency and conservation policy, which was pending since 2014 was launched yesterday.

The annual savings potential in electricity consumption in these four sectors, averaged over 15-year period, is estimated at 155MU (million units) a year. Considering the average export tariff of Nu 2.17 per unit, the country can earn extra revenue of Nu 336M every year.

Besides, it has the potential to cut down greenhouse gas emission, reduce petroleum import, lower the households’ dependence on fuelwood and enhance profitability of the industries.

Economic affairs minister, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said the this policy has woken up from its “death bed.” On the supply side, he said hydropower has been the largest source of energy in Bhutan and other alternate sources of renewable energy must be seen as a complementary to the former.

He said that the government will create awareness on the effectiveness of the energy-efficient appliance that are there in the market. The intensity of energy consumption in Bhutan is much higher than that of European countries and that effort must be put to reduce this intensity.

With regard to the policy, the works and human settlement ministry is tasked to develop and implement energy efficiency building codes of practice for both new construction and retrofit it in existing ones in the building sector.

The government will also encourage hotel industry to adopt energy efficiency and conservation measures and will recognise good performers.

Building sector contributes to 42 percent of the total energy consumption in 2014.

The Bhutan Standards Bureau, the policy states, must develop technical specifications and certification and standards for appliances.

The Bhutan trade classification will also include the protocol for monitoring of appliances, while the finance ministry is tasked to incorporate energy efficiency aspects into the public procurement system.

The government, on the other hand is expected to provide fiscal incentives, based on viability, to offset the higher prices of the energy efficient appliances in the market.

Industry sector, which consumes about 37 percent of the total energy, has the scope of reducing its total consumption by 10 percent.

The policy states that stakeholders such as Department of Industry, Department of cottage and Small Industry, Association of Bhutanese Industries and Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industries must work with nodal agencies to retrofit and refurbish energy efficient technologies and develop efficiency codes of practice.

The department of renewable energy is also tasked to conduct periodic energy auditing to identify energy conservation potential.

Transport sector consumes 19 percent of the domestic electricity. Use of electric and hybrid vehicles, public transportation, efficient urban planning and non-motorized transportation has been reiterated in the new policy.