Renewable Energy Transition for the Himalayan Countries Nepal and Bhutan: Pathways Towards Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Energy for All

The Himalayan countries Nepal and Bhutan have been confronted with similar climate change and energy emergencies for quite a long time. Its influence is felt as a barrier in financial, social, infrastructural, and political development. Despite having an enormous amount of renewable energy sources, these countries are unable to fulfil their current energy demand. While the power sector is entirely dependent on hydropower, other sectors depend on fossil fuel imports from India. This study offers a pathway for energy independency, energy for all and transition towards a 100% renewables based energy system. The modelling of the energy sector is done using the LUT Energy System Transition model for a period from 2015 to 2050 in a 5-year time step. This study covers the main energy sectors: power, heat, and transport. Two scenarios are visualised, one considering greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and the associated mitigation cost and another without these costs, though both scenarios aim at achieving a high share of renewable energy by 2050. A substantial drop in levelised cost of energy is observed for the scenario without GHG emission cost, however, taxing GHG emissions will accelerate the energy transition with the levelised cost of energy on a similar level. It is well possible to transition from 90 €/MWh in 2015 to 49 €/MWh by 2050 for the entire energy system by utilizing indigenous low-cost renewable energy. Solar photovoltaics and hydropower will play a dominant role in 2050, having a share of 67% and 31% respectively. Consequently, this leads to zero GHG emissions. An energy transition towards a sustainable and secure energy system for all by 2050 is well possible in Nepal and Bhutan only through 100% renewable sources and it is both technically and economically feasible despite having substantial limitations in infrastructure and economic development currently.

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