Hydropower: Coinciding with His Majesty the King’s 35th birth anniversary, the 126 megawatt (MW) Dagachhu hydroelectric project was commissioned earlier today.
The commercial flow of energy from the Dagachhu project to India began at 12:30am today. A total generation of 14.3MW was recorded.
However, the commissioning involves only the project’s first 63MW unit currently. The unit operated commercially for the first time at 3:25pm, yesterday.
Commissioning tests for the second 63MW unit are scheduled to begin immediately and be completed within a month, according to a Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) press release.
“Since the river discharge in the Dagachhu is at the lowest at the present juncture at around 5-6 cumecs (cubic metre per second), the Dagachhu project will be generating around 12.5MW at the present juncture,” it is pointed out in the press release.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay congratulated DGPC and the Dagachhu project team on social media. “Good news! The 126MW Dagachhu hydropower project was successfully commissioned at 3:26pm today,” he tweeted.
The project has missed a number of deadlines, the latest being mid-last year, and the commissioning of its first unit marks its last major milestone.
The Dagachhu project is the first to be managed by a Bhutanese team with a review consultant from Austria.
It is also the first public-private hydropower partnership. DGPC holds a 59 percent equity, India’s Tata Power Company ltd holds 26 percent and the National Pension and Provident Fund (NPPF) the remaining 15 percent.
The Dagachhu project has a 25-year sales agreement with Tata Power trading company to supply it with 500,000MW hours of power annually. This is expected to generate Nu 15B or over USD 250M in income in the next 25 years for the government.
Besides royalty energy, all the project’s power will be exported to India.
The Dagachhu project was also registered as the world’s first cross-border project to receive carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, as per information on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) website.
The ADB provided USD 119M in loans, the Raiffeisen Bank, Austria provided Euro 41.2M, and the NPPF Nu 600M, to build the Nu 12.2B project.
As the energy generated is being traded in the short and medium term market in India, the project has to comply with the Indian grid operations code. A Tata Power company expert is working with the Dagachhu project in dealing with Indian grid requirements.
Hindustan Construction Company was the civil works contractor while a consortium of Andritz Hydro and Alstom of Austria was the electro-mechanical contractor.
Dagachhu hydro power corporation chairman and DGPC managing director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin was the chief guest during the commercial operation declaration of the project.
The lam neten, Dagana dzongkhag officials, project officials and representatives of contractors also attended the ceremony.
By Gyalsten K Dorji