The manufacturing plant is fully equipped with local expertise

Nima | Gelephu

Bhutan Hydropower Service Limited (BHSL) in Jigmeling, Sarpang has started manufacturing runners ( turbines) for the hydropower plants in the country and also for the hydropower projects in India and Turkey.

The hydropower service centre is currently manufacturing two Pelton runners for the Tala hydropower plant, of which one would be ready by the end of this year. It takes almost one year to manufacture a turbines.

BHSL manufactured two different types of turbines to date.

Hydropower projects in the country imported hydro-mechanical equipment in the past incurring huge transportation and other costs.

Construction of hydropower projects is expected to be faster with BHSL having a fully equipped manufacturing plant, manned by local engineers and experts.

Interim CEO of the company, Pelden Drukpa, said that manufacturing of runners started in 2018 and dispatched a turbine for Basochhu hydropower plant in Wangdue in 2020.

“In the past, all these services were imported. We’re happy that we can do it ourselves now. We’re retaining money within the country,” he said.

He added that the equipment would be cheaper and of better quality, as the machines of the plant are operated by Computerised Numerical Control (CNC) system – a computerised manufacturing process.

A cost of one turbine comes around Nu 100 million.

“We also have skilled manpower and welders qualified for all levels. The hydro components would be cheaper and supplied on time which would not affect the hydropower generation of the plants. We’re also able to build competency,” said Pelden Drukpa.

BHSL initially sought expertise from GE, one of its shareholders, in manufacturing the runners. Today, the company has its own team managing the plant.

BHSL started manufacturing runners for hydropower plants, four years after its establishment in 2014. The hydropower service centre also plans to manufacture other hydro-mechanical components.

Officials from BHSL said that the company is hopeful that they would get orders from the North-Eastern region.

BHSL could reclaim over 45 runners in a year and it takes at least three months to make one depending on the size of the runners.