Bhutan has truly been a pioneer in creating a green future, already obtaining 100% of its electricity from low-carbon sources. This is a significant achievement that needs to be highlighted. As a result of this successful transition, Bhutan not only meets its own electricity needs sustainably but also exports a substantial amount of electricity. This has a positive impact on the overall carbon emissions, helping its neighboring countries lower their CO2 load. The next phase of Bhutan's green transition will be to transition other sectors such as transport, heating, and industry to electricity, which will require an even larger supply of clean electricity.
Even though Bhutan has made substantial progress in scaling up its low-carbon electricity, there is an opportunity to further augment its clean energy generation capacity. Bhutan could consider harnessing a wider range of low-carbon technologies such as wind and solar power, along with its existing hydropower resource, to diversify its electricity sources and to meet the increasing demand. Also, Bhutan can focus on improving energy efficiency across all sectors and invest in developing a robust, smart grid to ensure a seamless transition of other sectors like transport and industry to electricity.
Low-carbon electricity in Bhutan has a relatively young yet successful history, largely thanks to its exceptional commitment to hydropower. The growth of Bhutan's hydropower generation took off in the 1990s, with a steady increase in power generation each year. The first decade of the 21st century saw an exponential growth in the capacity, particularly between 2006 and 2008, where there was a significant increase in hydropower electricity generation. However, there were a few years of slight decline in electricity generation from 2011 to 2012 and again in 2017 to 2018. Despite these minor downturns, the country rebounded impressively, with 2019 marking a strong year of growth for hydropower electricity in Bhutan.