Energy Efficiency in Tibet


While Tibet lacks the ability to utilize coal, oil, and natural gas as energy sources, they are successful in their use of hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind energy. Through these means, they produce about 200 million kW of hydro energy each year- this accounts for about 30% of China’s total annual hydro energy use.
We intend to find possible ways for Tibetans to use some of the energy they generate for themselves, instead of the environmentally damaging methods they use now like burning cattle dung, wood, and crop residues. Possible solutions may include increasing development of infrastructure and making alternative energy sources more affordable/easier to acquire.

Problem Statement
The energy used by poor farmers in Tibet is unsustainable and environmentally damaging and makes up about 92% of their rural energy consumption. Consequences include deforestation, soil erosion, uncontrolled mining, extinction of wildlife. Tibetans also suffer from nuclear waste dumping from China’s military. We need to explore what possible implementations can be made to significantly decrease the damage done to the environment.


Some solutions for Tibet would include more government intervention from China. They should be protecting this area that is ready for sustainable energy solutions. The government could also control the hunting of endangered species and make sure the grassland is being managed sustainably in order to prevent overgrazing and desertification. Another solution for Tibet would be investing even more in renewable energy resources such as hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind and improving the infrastructure so that more people could have access to it. On an individual level, using technology such as solar stoves would improve the air quality and overall health of people living there.

Yangbajing geothermal power plant (Source: Panoramio)


Xigaze, the second-largest city in China’s Tibet is building a leading solar photovoltaic power generation base.

Demographic Information:

Population: 3.18 Million
Density: 6.78 people per square mile
Area: 474,300 square miles
GDP: $15 billion USD per year
Per person GDP: $4,800
Ethnic Composition:
– 90% Tibetan
– 8% Han
– 0.3% Monpa
– 0.3% Hui
– 0.2% others
Languages spoken: Tibetan, Mandarin Chinese
Religion: predominantly Buddhist, some Muslim and Catholic

Other facts:
– Tibet is the 2nd largest province level division of China by area, but not by population. They are only about 2.5% of China’s total population.
– Caterpillar fungus is collected and used as as an herbal remedy. This accounts for 40% of the country’s overall GDP.
– Tibet is a high elevation grassy plateau at the foothills of the Himalayas. There are no real trees, it is mostly grassy plains.
– There is a lot of potential for hydro power. Right now, the population relies mainly on cattle dung, firewood, and crop residues.
It maybe worth looking into microhydro – you don’t have to build a dam, but instead run the water downward in pipes.

Our Team

Thomas Eldib – Thomas is a 2nd year Biology student concentrating in Anatomy and Physiology. His non-biology passions include electric vehicles and renewable energies! He drives a Chevy Volt and is excited for the death of the gas car.

Scout Vernon – Scout is a 4th year business student from Colorado. His passions revolve around entrepreneurship, sustainability in the environment, and the ocean.

Sara Delany – Sara is a 3rd year biology major concentrating in wildlife biodiversity conservation and minoring in Environmental Studies. She’s from Sacramento, California, but is a full time resident in San Luis Obispo now.

Willow Urquidi – Willow is a 3rd year City and Regional Planning student minoring in Environmental Studies. She is originally from Seal Beach, California and hopes to implement sustainable practices in future communities.