English | Dzongkha Friday, February 21, 2020

Harnessing energy from solar to add up on the hydro power energy


Jan 24, 2020

As hydropower continues to contribute to the country’s economy, it’s important for Bhutan to integrate and expand its renewable portfolio. And one such diversification would be exploring solar power. This is the message from the hydro vision conclave held in Thimphu today.

Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma shared that Bhutan should not be complacent of its hydropower and must ensure the utilization of all forms of renewable energy. Reiterating the minister, Professor A.G. Iyer, the President of Renewable Energy Promotion Association said, there is a vast potential of harnessing energy from solar.

“What’s happening is we have a tariff of Nu 4.12 per unit and that tariff, any power that you put into the grid, the grid is agnostic, it does not understand that whether it is solar or it’s hydro. So the same power can go into the grid. And the advantage of parallel hydro development is that solar will take less time. So some solar should come up. Maybe about a gigawatt of a plant which can go with the same tariff because you don’t have to work out a new tariff agreement with India. You put in the same tariff.

“And right now I am telling you it’s possible to get young entrepreneurs supplying power with the power purchase agreement at maybe Nu 3.25 or Nu 3.5 per unit. So at that margin, the rest of it will go to the government. So this is a beautiful equation that hydro and solar hybridize and Bhutan can make more money,” said Prof. A. Gopalakrishnan Iyer, President & Promoter Director for Renewable Energy Promotion Association.

He also said that solar is the opportunity Bhutan is waiting for and Bhutan should not experiment too much with this but instead work on solar.

He added exploring other forms of renewable energy would supplement hydropower shortages during the dry season when the river flow decreases impacting generation.

The event also awarded seven awardees who have contributed towards hydropower development in the country.

Sonam Pem

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