Dechen Dolkar

The construction of the 90MW Jomori small hydropower project in Samdrupjongkhar began with a salhang tendrel ceremony for the construction of the access roads at Zamtari in Serthi gewog on November 11.

The roads spanning over 20km will connect to various components of the project.

Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Secretary Karma Tshering attended the ceremony.

With the start of the construction, locals would have a market for their produce, and are expected to benefit through contracts and employment opportunities.

According to project officials from Druk Hydro Energy (DHyE), it is estimated to generate an annual energy output of 367.33GWh. The construction duration is projected to be 55 months and estimated to cost Nu 8.8B

The financing arrangement incorporates a 70:30 debt-to-equity ratio, and a levelised tariff of Nu 4.89 per unit has been set, ensuring the effective generation of economically viable electricity.

The project is a run-of-river hydropower scheme that encompasses features such as a concrete gravity dam and a surface powerhouse. Its Feasibility Study Report (FSR) was carried out in February 2022.

The primary objectives behind the development of small and medium-sized hydropower projects with individual capacities up to 150MW are to enhance domestic energy security, and stimulate grassroots economic activities.

The project officials also said that all small and medium-sized hydropower projects are developed to nurture indigenous competencies in the hydropower sector.

This includes expertise in design and engineering, project management, project construction, and project commissioning, all executed within Bhutan by Bhutanese.

In Phase-I, currently in progress, a collective installed capacity of 104MW is expected to be commissioned between 2024-2025 at a collective cost of Nu 9.3B.

In the upcoming Phase II, DHyE is set to construct 90MW Jomori in Samdrup Jongkhar, 54MW Gamri- I in Trashigang, 26MW Druk Bindu-I and II in Samtse, and 25MW Begana Integrated Project in Thimphu, at the estimated cost of Nu 19.75B.

Meanwhile, DGPC is currently working on the selection of the projects for Phase-III of the hydropower projects. With each phase, the higher capacity of the projects is being considered.