Following several delays, the Mangdechhu Hydro Project Authority (MHPA) yesterday commissioned a unit, which would produce 180 megawatt (MW) of electricity by this month.

During the commissioning yesterday, Unit I generated 19.8MW electricity, which was supplied to the Indian grid.

MHPA’s managing director, AK Mishra, said the power load will be increased slowly and the targeted 180MW electricity will be achieved in the next couple of days.

“We will make a load throw off, which shall be supplied to the Indian grid and fetch revenue to the government,” he said.

MHPA officials said the load throw off usually takes seven to eight days and according to their management plan, Unit I will be generating its full capacity of 180MW by this month.

MHPA is supplying its power through the Punatsangchu I and II transmission line, as its transmission lines in the bordering Indian state of Assam, spanning 45km, fall in the Manas Tiger Reserve.

A K Mishra said that the Assam government took some time to resolve the issue. “But our transmission lines would be ready by September end,” he said. “For the time being, power would be transmitted through Punatshangchhu lines via Lamoizingkha to Alipur Duar.”

He said that MHPA would be completing the landscaping works to beautify the project in the coming months, as it has completed the civil, hydro-mechanical and electro-mechanical works.

According to the managing director, MHPA completed the major works in seven years, from March 2012 to March 2019.   

He claimed that most hydroelectric projects of similar size in the region usually take eight to 10 years and at a much higher cost per MW than what MHPA has achieved. “The per MW cost of MHPA is Nu 60M, excluding the transmission lines associated transmission system (ATS) cost.”

AK Mishra claimed that if the transmission line and ATS are included, the cost per MW is about Nu 70M, which is cheapest in the region.

The economic affairs minister, Lok Nath Sharma, attended the commissioning.

Lyonpo said completing a mega project in seven years is a miracle. “The project completed without much time delay and cost escalation.”

Lyonpo said the other units will be commissioned by July 25 but they would have to work out the commercial date of operation.

Nim Dorji | Trongsa