Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), TEPCO Power Grid, Tokyo Electric Power Services, Nippon Koei, IIEP. have been selected to help the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan to develop a master development plan for electricity.
The project, which will involve several other companies, is coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – an arm of Japan’s government. It is expected to begin immediately and by January 2020 produce a master plan that will be in effect until 2040. JICA became involved when Bhutan recently sought Japan’s help in updating an earlier master plan from 2004.
When completed, the master plan is intended to harness Bhutan’s abundant hydroelectric resources and lead to the construction of a nationwide power system. To develop it, TEPCO and the other companies will survey economic factors, energy consumption levels, demand trends, and environmental factors including river flow data. TEPCO and its partners will apply their technological capabilities and management experience, and at the same time enhance the Bhutan Department of Hydropower & Power System’s own planning capabilities.
Currently, wood and charcoal constitute 76.7 percent of the kingdom’s energy consumption, but demand for electricity is expected to increase significantly with economic growth. Hydropower generates 99 percent of Bhutan’s electricity, much of which is sold to neighboring India, representing 20 percent of Bhutan’s GDP. But current levels are estimated at only 7 percent of the potential hydroelectric generation capacity, representing great potential for growth.
TEPCO’s participation in the project is part of its expanding global consulting business, through which it provides technical and managerial assistance to other countries’ development of electricity.