Bhutanese power

water potential

I was happy to read about DHI’s plans to carry out major investments in power generation, power transmission, construction, information technology, aviation, mining, cement production and telecom in the next four years. These investments will add considerable value to the commercial interests of the Royal Government, while also leading and stimulating private sector growth.

Of these investments, which, in total, are estimated to cost DHI about Nu 53 billion, I am most excited about DGPC’s project to start a hydropower construction company.

Our country is blessed with perennial, fast flowing rivers perfectly suited to generate environmentally friendly run-of-the-river hydropower. Our rivers are capable of generating as much as 30,000 MW of hydropower, almost 80% of which has already been identified as technically feasible. And our people have been harnessing hydropower since 1967 when the 360 kW minihydel at Jungshina, Thimphu was constructed.

But virtually all the work, from that first minihydel to the 336 MW Chukha hydropower project (commissioned in 1986) and the 1020 MW Tala hydropower project (commissioned in 2006) were carried out by foreigners, mainly Indians. Similarly, almost all the work on the 1200 MW Punatsangchhu hydropower project is being done by foreigners.

So I welcome the news that the DGPC will soon start a hydropower construction company. That, coupled with the government’s power training institutes and DHI’s investment ambitions, could mean that we may eventually be able to become specialists in run-of-the-river hydropower schemes. And that could mean that we may some day become a recognized authority in planning, designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, financing and marketing clean, sustainable hydropower in Bhutan and beyond.


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  1. Trainees are not satisfactory with the degree of action. They deserves more to curb alike situation in the land of gross happiness.

  2. This is a very good idea and i am sure will create more job and reduce unemployment, This also very good avenue fo NPPF to invest so that they can give good return to their members.

  3. Dorji Dukpa says

    I agree what is written up there but if we look into environmental impact. People says that EIA was conducted and project is feasible which means no impact to the environment. My question is what about the native biodiversity which existed before the dam? We are inviting new biodiversity in new place which is not good in a long run. Other thing that worries me, Is it necessary to harvest all the potential river basins for power?

  4. Sonam Wangchuk says

    what concerns me most is the future security of the large reservior and its implication to the surrounding environment.Looking at most of the ill effects of the dams in China, Italy,etc. the dam with its large reservior has many implications on sedimendations, eutrophication, out break of viral diseases through increase mosquito population due to change in temperatures from storage of water.

    Further, Bhutan being located in the most vulnerable seismic zone of the Himalayas has a most important question for this? are we really in the position to face such devastating effects in 50 years from now.

    What about the critical habitat of riparian ecosystem diversity. It will be all gone. till date, no hard core study on these ecosystems are conducted like fishes and amphibians, which are fast losing in the pace of development. we can only be in the position to say those white bellied hereon or golden masheer to name few.

    Are we also in the position to face the global climate change? and the effects such as GLOF?

    Therefore, it is better to look into both the prons and cons before such mammoth steps are taken. Development is important to Bhutan but lets question to what cause?

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