Export increased by 6.2 percent in 2015
Electricity: The hydropower plants in the country earned around Nu 12.5 billion (B) last year, excluding Nu 1.47B that was endowed as the royalty energy to the government for the year.
This was an increase of about Nu 1.5B from 2014 but still inferior to 2013 earnings of Nu 13.05B.
Electricity generation last year increased by a meagre three percent to 7,381 (million units) MU from 7,147 MU in 2014. In 2013 the generation increased by 10.75 percent to 7,513MU compared with 2012.
Druk Green Power Corporation’s (DGPC) managing director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said these figures are unaudited and subject to statutory audit.
But the generation, officials said, is fully dependent on hydrology and ensuring that there are no major plant breakdowns around the year also helped. The diversion of Tsibjalumchhu stream to the Tala dam in June 2014 is also supposed to enhance the generation from the Tala project by 93 MU, when the river inflow in the Wangchhu is less than what is required for full generation capacity.
About 75 percent of the total energy generated last year (5324MU) was exported, an increase of around 6.2 percent compared with 2014. This helped the country earn around INR 10.6B,
But again in comparison with 2013, when the country experienced improved hydrology, export last year dropped.
In 2013, export alone earned Nu 11B.
With aggressive rural electrification and people switching from conventional source of energy to electricity, the country saw its domestic consumption rise over the years. In addition, construction of new hydropower projects and more industries coming up also attributed to increased domestic consumption.
Reports from DGPC stated that the increased domestic consumption continues to adversely impact the revenue inflow because of the differences between domestic and export tariff.
Since 2012 the domestic consumption have been steadily rising from 1,828MU to 2,057 MU last year.
Figures from the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) reveal that domestic consumption just a decade and half ago was 460MU.
The NSB calculation also affirms that 90 percent of the domestic electricity supply goes to the industries, largely to the manufacturing sector.
Industries in Passakha alone consume as much power as the entire capital city and Dungsam cement plant consumes the entire power that might light homes in the entire east.
To meet the country’s energy demands, electricity is imported during winter months. However, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said imports are mainly taking place into eastern Bhutan where the Kurichhu project is not able to meet the demand, especially with Dungsum cement plant in operation and the start of the construction of the Kholongchhu project.
Import figures slightly dropped to 142MU last year from 187 MU in 2014. Otherwise, power import shot up from 55MU in 2012 to 108MU in 2013.
But going by the National Accounts statistics, 2015, published by NSB, electricity import during winter has been growing. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a gradual increase in imports with an average of 52.5MU a year.
The highest import ever has taken place in 2014. However, electricity loss in transmission and distribution has been more than imports until 2012.
“In some years the losses were five times more than what has been imported to meet domestic demand,” the report stated.
For instance in 2008, the country imported 9MU of energy but incurred a transmission loss of 150MU. But the situation improved with grid enhancement over the years and thus in 2014, the transmission loss was 90MU against import of 187MU.