Dechen Dolkar  

The 720MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) officially handed over the project to Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) yesterday.

The contract award cost was Nu 37.1B and the cost incurred until July this year was Nu 50.2B. The project required an additional fund of Nu 800M for the payment of liabilities.

The commissioning of the project has increased Bhutan’s electrical power generation capacity by 44 percent to 2,326MW. Since its commissioning, the project has generated more than 9,500 million units of energy.

In 2021, MHPA exported electricity worth Rs 12.13B to India, increasing Bhutan’s electricity exports to Rs 24.43B.

So far, it earned Nu 43.6B as revenue after the commissioning of the project. The project has generated around 10,599.9 million units of energy as of yesterday.

Speaking at the event, Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma said that the project is yet another milestone.

He said that during the pandemic when the revenue fell, the commissioning of the project helped the country with its revenue.

The commissioning of project increased hydropower revenue in 2020 31 percent.

Lyonpo expressed his gratitude to all the officials, engineers, designers, and workers for delivering the project. He also thanked the Government of India for providing financial and technical support for the construction of the project.

Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela said that the project was a ‘benchmark project’ which was completed at an optimal cost and time frame.

The power generated by the Mangdechhu Power Station is being exported to India and the evacuation of power is takes place at Alipurduar in West Bengal. The power flows through the 765kV Double Circuit HVDC transmission line running from Bishwanath Charali in Assam to Agra in UP, where the eastern grid is connects the western India grid.

The Mangdechhu Hydropower Station exported net energy at Alipurduar 9165.685 million units and the corresponding billing amount to Power Trading Corporation (PTC) for the exported energy is Nu 37.1B. The billing to PTC has been done for the period of three years until August 2022 from the date of commissioning.

The tariff of the Mangdechhu Project is Nu 4.12 per kWh.

According to officials from the Department of Hydropower and Power Systems, it is projected to earn revenue of Nu 12B from the project annually. They said that of the total revenue earned around Nu 8.5B will be given to the government exchequer and around Nu 5B will be  repaying the loan for 17 years. In total, there is around Nu 47B loan.

Every five-year tariff will be increased by 10 percent. After completing the repayment of the loan, the tariff will be increased by 5 percent every five years.

A handing-over ceremony was held in Thimphu and witnessed by Lyonpo Loknath Sharma and Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela.

A handing-over document was signed between the managing directors of MHPA and DGPC.

Four units of Mangdechhu Hydropower Station were commissioned between June 28, 2019 to August 16, 2019. The project was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering on August 17, 2019.

The project was awarded the prestigious Brunel Medal, 2020 by the Institute of Civil Engineers, London as a recognition for its excellence in civil engineering and the project’s social and environmental credentials.

The project will reduce about 2.4 million tonnes of Green House Gas emissions each year.

With the handing over of this project, both India and Bhutan have successfully completed four mega hydroelectric power projects, taking forward our six decades-old hydropower cooperation.