It is a decade since Druk Green Power Corporation Limited (DGPC) was formed. In this one decade, DGPC has come of age and lived up to its vision and aspirations of the people of Bhutan to harness and sustain Bhutan’s hydropower resources. In every one of these ten years, DGPC has initiated something new and challenging in striving to achieve its “Commitment to Excellence” and closing in on the gap with generation utilities across the world as DGPC moves ever closer to becoming “World Class by 2030”. It has been an exciting ten years. Much has been achieved but there is still a long road ahead.
While hydrological flows change with the vagaries of nature and the monsoons, DGPC has continued to ensure high levels of availability of the generating units and water utilisation factors through effective and efficient operation and maintenance of its power plants thus maximising returns from its assets. Dividends, taxes and royalty contributions from the hydropower sector remain a major source of revenues to the Shareholder and the exchequer, and in 2017, these aggregated to Nu. 9,355.93 million. Further, electricity export revenues continue to substantially offset the balance of trade with India.
In its pursuit to further build on its competencies and to take advantage of emerging business opportunities, DGPC in partnership with Andritz Hydro incorporated an FDI company during the year – Bhutan Automation & Engineering Limited – a manufacturing facility that will specialise in design, engineering, integration, and implementation of state-of-the-art automation systems for hydropower plants/projects. In 2017, DGPC also consolidated its Centres of Excellences by putting them under a centralised Hydropower Research & Development Centre with mandates to further develop expertise in all fields of the hydropower business on its own or through collaboration. The consolidation is facilitating the Centre to expand its services beyond DGPC to hydropower projects under construction and to other sectors in Bhutan.
The Druk Green Consultancy expanded its services and took a few more strides towards stepping out of the folds of DGPC. The consultancy group completed the DPRs for the 26 MW Druk Bindu and 442 MW Nyera Amari projects. WAPCOS retained the group as consultants to prepare the infrastructure proposal for the 2,640 MW Kuri-Gongri DPR. It was also awarded the consultancy for some of the balance infrastructure works of the 1,020 MW and 1,200 MW Punatsangchhu projects. The group further started to provide expert services to the existing hydropower plants and to the ongoing Nikachhu project, which normally DGPC would otherwise have outsourced to outside consultancy services.
It was, however, a slow year for the development of new hydropower projects. No new projects could be taken up for construction. The construction of the 118 MW Nikachhu project continued to be constrained as with the experience with hydropower projects elsewhere in the region. There was also very little forward movement with the construction of the 600 MW Kholongchhu project. Debates on issues ranging from global warming to social and environmental concerns to electricity markets became more prominent. DGPC continued to work very closely with the Government and the Shareholder on addressing these emerging challenges in the sector. It was also a year of reminiscing and planning into the future.
Despite the changing environment and emerging challenges, DGPC remains committed to its vision to promote, harness and sustain Bhutan’s hydropower resources, which is the cornerstone of Bhutan’s socio-economic development strategies.