10,000 MW by 2020 target to be reviewed
Visit: Hydropower was a key area of discussion during Lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay’s official visit to Gujarat and Delhi.
Although it is certain that the target of generating 10,000 MW of electricity by 2020 would not be possible, the government of India (GoI) expressed strong commitment on expediting the process.
Economic affairs minister, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, said the affirmation of GoI towards developing hydropower was very clear. He said the Minister of Power, Piyush Goyal and Lyonchhoen reaffirmed the need to renew commitment into the hydropower development sector.
“There has been an affirmation that hydropower development in Bhutan is a win-win, which benefits both the countries and that the two countries need to take hydropower development forward and continue the support that each other renders,” he said.
In terms of achieving the 10,000 MW target by 2020, Lyonpo said it was clear that it would not be possible given that only 30 percent of the hydropower capacity is currently under construction.
“We agreed that we would like to take it forward, stick to the commitment and this would also entail reviewing the target,” he said.
When the power minister called on lyonchhoen in Delhi, they also discussed on alternate sources of renewable energy. The power minister agreed to support development of alternate source of renewable energy in Bhutan.
Although preliminary studies were carried out to identify potential areas for producing wind energy, an in-depth study has been pending.
“The minister offered to send a team to closely examine the potential of wind in Bhutan to generate electricity,” lyonpo said. “He also offered scholarship for students interested in wind energy.”
Since Bhutan would not solely rely on hydropower but have a mix of other sources of renewable energy in the energy basket, lyonchhoen also visited a solar park at Charankha in Gujarat.
“As per the renewable energy policy, there is an effort to put a mix in the energy basket. We must not just rely on hydropower but bring in other renewable energy like solar, wind and biogas,” lyonpo said. “Solar is also in the radar and the visit to the solar park was in line with this.”
Lyonchhoen would be travelling to Varanasi today.
Lyonchhoen met John Kerry
During the second day of the visit in Gujarat, Secretary of the state of the United States, John Kerry, met Lyonchhoen at the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat summit.
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said it is the first of the highest level of meeting between the United States and Bhutan. The meeting was arranged after a request from the US to Bhutan.
The Secretary of State expressed appreciation and admiration of the government and people of America to Bhutan for the exemplary leadership of the Kings on the front of democracy, climate change and happiness as a measurement index.
John Kerry said the exemplary leadership of the kings in smoothly instituting democracy in the country was unprecedented. He added that Bhutan’s leadership at a global scale in championing climate change and environment despite being a small country is appreciated much by the government and people of US.
Bhutan’s environmental and sustainable development policies, he said were models for other countries to follow. The two leaders exchanged views on education and the US agreed to see how their support for education, in terms of scholarship could be expanded
Lyonchhoen met Ban Ki Moon
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon also met lyonchhoen at the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat summit.
It was the first time lyonchhoen was meeting the secretary general and expressed admiration for his leadership on various international issues. The Secretary General, also expressed his appreciation on the concept of Gross National Happiness and the role Bhutan played in climate change and global warming. He also appreciated Bhutan’s participation in the peacekeeping force despite being a small country.
By Tshering Wangdi, New Delhi