Hydroelectricity has given Bhutan one of the best per capita economic performances in South Asia, recent figures suggest.
Bhutan’s power policies have been highly successful in tapping donor support, notably from Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. And, as it has energy- challenged India for a neighbour it has a ready-made market for electricity exports, about 40% of which are generated by the 336MW Chukka plant. India’s agreement to pay more for its electricity has allowed the Bhutanese government to defer plans to introduce personal income tax this year. Although Bhutan is still ranked as a poor country, its annual gross domestic product of US$550 per person has increased steadily over the past decade. Future, hydro plans include commissioning a 1020MW plant at Tala in 2005, and there are also preliminary plans for an 800MW plant.