March 10, 2012
GUWAHATI, March 10 – The Indian Public Sector Units (IPSUs) and the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) of Bhutan have ironed out their differences at the Eighth Empowered Joint Group Meeting held at New Delhi recently to start work on four joint venture projects in Bhutan as part of an initiative to generate 10,000 MW of hydel power by 2020.
The implementation of the four joint venture projects — Kholongchu, Bunakha, Amochu, and Wangchu is to start by the middle of this year, said a write up in the Kuensel Online Bhutanese daily news site in a recent issue.
As per the agreement, DGPC will hold 49 per cent of the project’s equity, while the IPSU will hold the remaining 51 per cent. The board however will have equal representation from both sides, with the chairman and the joint managing director from DGPC, while the managing director and director of finance will be nominated by IPSUs.
Construction of four joint venture projects, with a combined capacity of 2,050 MW will start this year while construction of Sonkosh (Sunkosh in Bhutan) will begin next year and Kurigongri will start in 2014. It is expected that the construction of all the hydropower projects, under the 10,000-MW initiative, is expected to begin before 2016, the write up said.
This year, construction of the 1,200-MW Punatsangchu-I project, to be commissioned in 2016, gathered pace and the building of the Punatsangchu II and Mangdechu in Trongsa began. Meanwhile, capacity of the Sonkosh, which was conceived to be the country’s biggest project, was downsized by almost half to 2,560MW, said the write-up carried by the Kuensel Online in its February 21, 2012 issue.
Study has also been carried out for building the transmission network required to supply power to India. According to the study, around 1,460 km of additional transmission lines will have to be drawn for the purpose, said the write-up.
In a separate write-up in Hydropower & Dams issue 2 2010, Chhewang Rinzin of the Druk Green Power Ltd, Bhutan, also confirmed that there are initiatives to generate additional 10,000 MW of hydel power by 2020 in Bhutan. The hydropower potential of the neighbouring country has been assessed to be 30,000 MW and so far only 1500 MW, which is only five per cent of its total potential, has been harnessed, Rinzin said.
Though the projects are expected to supply power to India, they are also feared to lead to catastrophes in the downstream Indian areas as has been experienced in the case of the Kurichu hydel project.
Photo Credit: Reuters