14 October Thimpu (Bhutan)-Given the increased fossil fuel dependency in the transport sector in the country, the government has identified to implement low emission urban transport system within the next three years.
This is in line with the government’s commitment towards environmental conservation and the need to address the challenges of increasing energy emissions from the transport sector.
The annual growth rate of motor vehicles in Bhutan is 12-13 per cent, leading to the growing vehicle congestion and increased green house gas emissions from. Evidently, fuel imports have significantly increased from Nu 721m in 2002 to about Nu 9 B last year.
“At the national level we have certain challenges like we import around Nu 6.9bn worth of energy annually and that is more alarming for our country in terms of trade deficit,” said Phub Gyeltshen, the Deputy (Dy) Chief Planning Officer, Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC).
He also suggested that Bhutan is rich in terms of hydropower. “We must take advantage of the vast energy and capitalize it rather than depending on fossil fuels from foreign countries,” he added.
Taxis record the highest mileage and present a huge potential for reduction of green house gas emissions in the country. MoIC, in the first phase of the project will initially convert taxis to electric cars and install more charging stations to cut down the import of fossil fuel and reduce green house gas emissions.
“In this project we have planned to convert at least 300 taxis operating in Thimphu to electric cars. So within next two to three years, we will see around 300 taxis or more being electric vehicles that are more efficient and clean,” told the Dy. Chief Planning Officer to BBS.
He further went on saying the ministry has bigger project where plans like building infrastructure such as bus terminals, bus base, separate bus land for public buses to ply during rush hours, and bicycle paths. The project will also address the need for convenient, efficient and better access to public transport. It will be supported by Green Climate Fund, a new global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. It was set up by the 194 countries who are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010, as part of the Convention’s financial mechanism.
As of July 2017, there are 94,000 registered cars across the country.