Norwegian energy cooperation with Bhutan: a summary report

Norwegian energy cooperation with Bhutan: a summary report

In 1967 the cooperation between Bhutan and Norway started, when Norwegian missionaries were invited by His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck of Bhutan to establish a hospital in Riserboo, Trashigang, in eastern Bhutan. In February 1967 the missionaries laid down the foundation stone for the hospital, built to combat leprosy. Today the hospital is owned by the Bhutanese government, and leprosy is virtually eliminated in Bhutan.

Later the cooperation between Norway and Bhutan gradually broadened to include initiatives concerning environment, health, gender equality, forest conservation and industrial activities, coordinated through the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi.

During the latter part of the 1980s, the World Bank initiated a major study on electrification challenges in Bhutan. Norway, given the century-long hydropower experience found a natural interest in the water resource potential in Bhutan. The World Bank project was supported by Norway, initiating the Norwegian energy cooperation with Bhutan.

Over the course of the cooperation period, the ambition of Bhutan to reach electricity access for the entire population has been achieved almost 100 %, an achievement given the challenging geography of Bhutan. With the Norwegian support the modernized energy sector of Bhutan and its entities ensure the continued development of renewable energy resources, for the benefit of the Bhutanese population. The export of electricity from Bhutan will continue to create large revenues for the years to come.

This report is a made to provide a summary of the Norwegian energy cooperation with Bhutan, and to communicate the main results and experiences thereof.