To celebrate His Majesty The King’s birth anniversary and 50 years of diplomatic ties between Bhutan and India, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay re-commissioned the 360 Kilo Watt (KW) hydropower plant in Thimphu yesterday.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that 50 years ago, the power plant was the only and the first. “ It is significant as it represents the history of modern Bhutan and the legacy of the friendship between the two countries,” he said. “We look forward to another 50 years of friendship between two extraordinary countries.”

He said that today the plant serves about 180 households and Jungshina alone had 337 households. However, when there were plans to upgrade the power plant, he pleaded against it since the plant represented the uncompromising relationship between Bhutan and India.

As the two countries are celebrating the strong relationship, they are also working on an agreement for another hydro power plant of 2,555MW in Sunkosh, the biggest collaboration between India and Bhutan, he said.

The mini hydropower plant was first commissioned on February 8, 1967. It was built by Central Water Commission, India.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that apart from the generator, machines such as penstock and turbine set were not replaced. “This represents the relationship between the two countries based on the solid foundation and it is also a reminder of the relation to improve, nurture and maintain it.”

The mini-hydropower plant’s operation was stopped for about eight months for rehabilitation works such as upgrading the manually operated machines to automatic operation, modification of old structures, and repair and maintenance of intake structures, water channel and forebay tank.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) in collaboration with Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) worked on the rehabilitation works worth Nu 28.70 Million.

BPC’s Managing director Gem Tshering said the water is also supplied from the forebay  tank of the mini-hydropower plant. “With India’s support and friendship, we are grateful and proud for the successful re-commissioning of the power plant.”

He said that the power plant is grid connected and the energy generated is directly fed to the grid.

Annually, on an average, the hydel generates about 1.22 Million (M) units of energy.

Until 2016, the hydel generated about 53.34 M units of energy worth Nu Nu132.50 million, with each unit costing Nu 2.5.

Rinchen Zangmo