Lunana’s electricity dream depends on fund

Phurpa Lhamo  | Gasa

Lunana burns 542.32 tonnes of firewood for cooking and heating purposes every year. This is around 3 tonnes of firewood per house every year.

Without electricity, Lunaps go to the lowlands for firewood in the months of September, October, and November.

This could change.

Department of Renewable Energy (DoRE) and Druk Green Power Corporation Limited (DGPC) have proposed construction of a Mini Hydel Project (MHP) on Chuzachhu in Toenchoe village. A detailed project report has been finalised.

Grid extension to Lunana was found to be technically challenging as all the 97km long transmission lines (TL) must be built through high mountains. The transmission lines were also falling within the Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP), which could harm the flora and fauna of the park.

The 500 kW MHP will generate around 4.38 MU of energy annually. This would be adequate for households of 11 of 13 villages in the gewog.

However, DoRE and the DGPC are currently faced with the lack of fund for the project, which could cost about Nu 650 million.

According to Thangza-Toenchoe tshogpa, Pema, fetching firewood took days for some villagers.

Lunana Gup Kaka said that the government-supplied solar panels were only in around 30 percent of the households. “The power from solar panels last for around five hours depending on the weather. And the batteries, which is an alternative, costs around Nu 10,000.”

If the project receives fund, an all national workforce would complete work in two years as people can work only from May to October due to harsh weather.

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