DGPC: The country’s power sectors have the expertise in run-off the river projects and could provide consultancy services in the region if given an opportunity and investment to build its capacity.

This was the finding of the parliament’s economic and private sector development committee, which was asked to review whether the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) could prepare Detailed Project Reports (DPR) for hydropower projects.

Since DPR involves substantial consultancy expenditure, the National Assembly in the last session had directed the committee to explore the possibility of undertaking the service by national firms.

The committee’s chairman, Sonam Dondup Dorjee, said, although no concrete decision had been taken, the consultation meeting with DGPC revealed that DGPC was competent.

However, he said, government’s support was crucial to nurture the human resource capacity of the corporation.  He said, following several more consultations with various stakeholders in the power sector, a final report would be presented in Parliament.

“It sounds logical since we’re known for developing clean source of energy,” he said, referring to DGPC’s ambition to provide hydropower consultancy in the region.

However, the managing director of DGPC, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, said if the government allocated some DPR preparation for a couple of projects, the company would build its capacity.

In the last seven years, he said, DGPC had raised its bar to the level of conducting feasibility and field studies for DPR.

To date, the DGPC has conducted two pre-feasibility studies and about six feasibility studies.

As for the DPR preparations, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said it would take some time to gain experience and expertise, and this was where investment in human resource was required.

However, given the investment it has to make, he said, it could cost the government more than hiring foreign consultants. “But it would help us grow and it’s more important for Bhutan to build in-house capacity in all aspects of hydropower service,” he said.

According to the performance audit report on consultancy services, there is a huge deviation in actual expenses on hydro projects from the initial estimates approved in DPR. Inadequacies in DPR also resulted in time and cost overrun.

Sonam Dondup Dorjee said DPR sums up the best estimate and need not necessarily match the actual figures.

Meanwhile, from fiscal year 2007-08 to 2001-12 about Nu 1.8 billion was spent in procuring consultancy services for hydropower project, accounting for 39 percent of total government spending on various consultancy services.

By Tshering Dorji