India to help Bhutan build four more hydropower projects

India and Bhutan on Tuesday signed an agreement for construction of four more hydroelectric projects (HEP) by joint ventures of the public sector undertakings of the two countries.

The four hydroelectric projects will come up at Kholongchu, Bunakha, Wangchu and Chamkarchu in Bhutan with total generation capacity of 2,120 MW.

All of them will supply power to India.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, an intergovernmental agreement was signed by P K Sinha, the secretary of the Ministry of Power of the Indian Government, and Sonam Tsering, secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Bhutan Government, in Thimphu on Tuesday.

India earlier helped build three hydroelectric projects in Bhutan with total generating capacity of 1,416 MW – the 336 MW Chukha HEP, 60 MW Kurichu MW and 1,020 MW Tala HEP. All the three HEPs are now operational and supplying power to India. 

India is also building three more HEPs in Bhutan having generation capacity of 2,940 MW. The 1,200 MW Punatsangchu-I, 1,020 MW Punatsangchu-II and 720 MW Mangdehchu HEPs are under construction and scheduled to be commissioned by 2018.

“Hydropower cooperation with Bhutan is a classic example of win-win cooperation, providing clean electricity to India, generating export revenues for Bhutan and further strengthening our bilateral economic linkages,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a release issued in Thimphu.

The intergovernmental agreement inked on Tuesday provides the framework for implementing the four new HEPs totalling 2,120 MW, “subject to completion of the due process of appraisal of their Detailed Project Reports, including techno-economic viability,” on a joint venture model between PSUs of the two countries.

Bhutan’s Druk Green Power Corporation will have joint ventures with the SJVN Ltd of India for the 600 MW Kholongchu HEP and 570 MW Wangchu HEP.

The same PSU of the Royal Government of Bhutan will have joint ventures with THDC Ltd and NHPC Ltd of India for the 180 MW Bunakha HEP and 770 MW Chamkarchu HEP.

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