After the plant is repaired, the community has decided to surrender the plant to BPC 

Electricity: Following more than a month of power outage, the turbine spare parts for 70 kilowatt Chendebji micro hydropower plant in Trongsa was expected to arrive in Paro yesterday from Kathmandu according to Tangsibji gup, Jigme Namgyal.

The micro hydropower broke down after some of its parts were damaged from dilapidation. An email from Nepal to the Department of Energy (DoE) on July 13 said the spare parts were dispatched as cargo in one of the scheduled flights for July 14.

Gup Jigme Namgyal said that the parts, whose delivery was also impeded by the Nepal earthquake, should have reached Paro.

According to the gewog administration, the spare parts cost Nepalese rupee (NPR) 127,690, which amounts to Nu 79,806.25. “The hydropower plant will be repaired within this week to restore power in the villages,” Jigme Namgyal said.

Chendebiji tshogpa, Tandin Tshering said farmers, school, government offices and business entities in Chendebji, Nyala and Drangla have been without power since June 2 after its micro hydropower broke down.

“The villagers have been living in dark since none had mebchi or kerosene to light up the homes,” Tandin Tshering said.

Given its frequent breakdowns, the community is also on the verge of handing over the hydropower plant to the Bhutan power corporation (BPC). The other compelling reason for surrendering the plant is because of the long process involved in getting technical help from DoE.

“Under the existing process, it takes at least a month to get technical assistance to repair the micro plant,” Tandin Tshering said, adding if the plant is surrendered to BPC, the repair process could be accelerated.

Jigme Namgyal said the electricity tariff collected from its 80 users in Nyala, Chendebji and Drangla isn’t enough to cover its maintenance expenses. Since, the plant is supposed to run as self-sustaining project, no funds are provided from the government.

“The community’s CD has only around Nu 300,000, which will drop after refunding the costs of the turbine spare parts,” Jigme Namgyal said.

The community’s wish is to be connected on the national grid. The government’s pledge of providing 100 units of free electricity, which Chendebji is deprived of, is also another factor for the plant to be surrendered.

Jigme Namgyal said the community agreed in both public consultation meetings to handover the plant to BPC. The gewog tshogde endorsed the proposal and forwarded it to the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) for further deliberations.

“Both DoE and BPC have been apprised of the community’s will to surrender the power plant,” Jigme Namgyal said.

The DT’s resolution to surrender the power plant was forwarded to BPC, which advised that it be routed through DoE. “DoE has told us that the process to take over the plant from the community to hand over it to BPC would take sometime,” Jigme Namgyal said.

Chendebji micro hydropower plant is the first registered clean development mechanism (CDM) constructed in 2005 by Bhutan and e7. The project was expected to lower carbon emissions by 500 tons annually by reducing the villagers’ dependence on firewood for cooking, heating and lighting homes.

The e7 is an organisation of leading energy companies from the G7 nations that collectively promote sustainable energy development.  CDM is a project-based instrument of the Kyoto Protocol allowing public or private entities to invest in greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigating activities in developing countries and earn abatement credits for use to offset their own GHG emissions or for sale on the open market.

By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa