Browse Publications Technical Papers 2024-01-2494

Potential and Challenges of Using Biomass-Based Resources in Bhutan 2024-01-2494

Bhutan is a small nation in the eastern Himalayas, between two of the world's largest neighbors and fastest-growing economies; China, and India. The GDP of the country is $2.707 Billion as of 2022. Bhutan’s largest renewable source is hydropower, which has a known potential of 30,000 MW. However, it has only been able to harvest only 1,480 MW (5% of the potential). The current overall electrification rate is 99% overall with 98.4% in rural areas. It exports 75.5% of total electricity generated in the country to India. However, the reliable supply of electricity remains a big challenge. The government is also pushing the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind to diversify the energy mix and enhance the power security of the country. The share of renewable energy is very minimal at present amounting to 723 kW Solar PV and 600 kW Wind power. Bioenergy in the form of fuel wood, energy crops & crop residues, and cattle dung has great potential in the country as the country’s total energy demand is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.5% which is expected to reach 1,550 kilo ton of oil equivalent (KTOE) by 2030 from 725 KTOE in 2017. However, the country continues to use unsustainable use of biomass due to the use of conventional inefficient cook stoves, a lack of local knowledge, and the inability to produce and use modern and efficient biomass systems. The present study attempts to evaluate the challenges and potential suitability of Biomass-based Resources for meeting existing and future energy requirements of the country as it can’t solely depend upon hydro-power due to many vital reasons. The use of biomass resources for energy also fulfills the country’s mandate of not increasing GHG emissions as the country has the rare distinction of being the only carbon-negative country in the world.


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