In what could boost the local industries by retaining power before exporting to India, the 400 KV Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) in Jigmeling, Gelephu was inaugurated on December 30.

The GIS substation is first of its kind in the country. One of the main functions will be to connect power lines between eastern and western Bhutan. This means if there is a problem in east, power from the west could be evacuated to the east through this substation.

Power supply from four of the country’s hydropower projects, Punatsangchhu II, Nikachhu, Mangdechhu and Kholongchhu will come to this substation before going to India.

Bhutan Power Corporation’s managing director, Gem Tshering, said that the substation is to retain power generated by hydropower plants in the country. Power is directly evacuated to India from the hydropower projects.

“This means we do not have any place to get some power for our own internal use,” he said.

The amount of power required in the industries in Jigmeling Industrial Estate will be taken from this substation. Only the surplus power will then be exported to India, he added.

Over 750-acre land has already been identified for an Industrial Estate in Jigmeling, which will cater to at least 153 industries.

“Without this substation, our industries will not benefit from the electricity generated in the country,” Gem Tshering added.

However, the quantity of power retention will depend on the number of industries and their capacity.

The substation was built at the cost of Nu 2.5billion

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang