Thukten Zangpo 

The overall hydropower generation of the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) power plants-Tala, Chhukha, Kurichhu, and Basochhu was expected to decrease by over 4 percent this year.

This year’s generation, according to the DGPC, projected at 6, 947.27 million units (MU) will be 4 percent lesser compared to last year’s hydropower generation recorded at 7,249.35 MU.

DGPC Managing Director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that the generation forecast is mainly based on trends in hydrological flows and actual generation at each of the power plants.

While Dagachhu and Mangdechhu power plants are being practically operated by the DGPC, however, as separate legal entities, the plants make their own forecasts and maintain their own accounts.

Total electricity generation from January to September 28 this year from the power plants under the DGPC fell to 5,384.64MU from 5,483.8MU during the same period last year, according to the DGPC. This was about a 2 percent decrease.

Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that although the Tala power plant was shut down from January 1 to March 16 this year, there was some gain in generation during March and April from the snow melt as Bhutan had experienced some snowfalls during the last winter.

However, he said that some of the generation gains were lost with the breakdown of one of the generating units at the Chhukha hydropower plant from July 7 to August 15 this year.

The country’s revenue from the export of electricity also fell to Nu 8.66 billion (B) as of August this year from Nu 8.81B in the same period last year, a decrease of about 2 percent.

Bhutan exports about 70 percent of the energy generated to India.

The DGPC, however, recorded an increase of about 17 percent in domestic consumption for the same period. The consumption increased from 1,547.23MU as of August last year to 1,816.18MU as of August this year.

“An increase in domestic consumption affects overall revenues to the DGPC since the domestic generation tariff is lower than the export tariff,” Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said.

He added that despite being a difficult year with having to shut down the Tala power plant for the repair of the head race tunnel and the breakdown of one of Chhukha’s generating units during July-August this year.

He said that the DGPC is optimistic that the overall performance of the company will be closer to its 2021 operations.