Deputy Minister for International Development Arvinn Gadgil signed the agreement to support the efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan to increase access to sustainable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next five years the Norwegian government will support Bhutan in meeting this goal through increased promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency with NOK 100 million.
“Norway will support Bhutan in reaching the goal of everyone in the country having access to electricity, and to ensure that the large amount of hydro-power money goes to the people of Bhutan”, says Mr. Gadgil.
When results are achieved in the form of increased energy access and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, funds will be released to Bhutan under the Energy+ agreement. The funds will be used to trigger commercial investments, according to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The agreement follows up the intensions stated by the Norwegian Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås and the Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchen Jigme Y Thinley when Holmås visited Bhutan in October 2012.
“Norway and Bhutan has cooperated for 20 years on the development of the hydro power sector. Like Norway, Bhutan has major water resources. We are now expanding this collaboration”, says Mr. Holmås.
As one of the first countries to join the Energy+ partnership, a Norwegian initiative to promote green energies to combat climate change, Bhutan aims to achieve 100% electricity access. Today, the country has 80% access, of which 99% comes from hydro power. There is great potential for more hydro power in the country.
Additionally, the Kingdom focuses on using renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power and biogases, work which Norway and the Asian Development Bank supports.
In combination with the country’s own priorities, the Energy+ partnership will also focus on increasing access to energy services such as electricity, heating, energy efficiency and more efficient cook stoves in rural areas. Improved legislation, strengthened capacity and development of energy and climate plans for the energy sector also stands as major new initiatives. Thereby, Bhutan’s activities support their contribution to the United Nations initiative on “Sustainable Energy for All”.
The Energy+ Partnership will also contribute to the five-year «Development Plan» of Bhutan and implementation of the “National Strategy and Action Plan for Low Carbon Development, 2012”.