April 24 | Kuensel
By Tshering Dorji
With the signing of the tariff protocol yesterday, all that remains is the formality for the 720MW Mangdechhu project to export electricity to India.
The tariff protocol was signed between the economic affairs secretary, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi and the power secretary of India, Ajay Kumar Bhalla who is in the country.
Economic affairs minister, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said that this is the final and due process to be completed before the actual export begins. While the tariff of Nu 4.12 a unit of electricity is now formally binding, the document, according to the minister, also prescribes the process and technicalities on how the power should be exported.
The first turbine of the MHPA, capable of generating 180MW of power would spin on May 10, according to the minister. By June 20, he said, all four units of the MHPA would be generating electricity.
The project’s Managing Director, A K Mishra said that the dam and tunnel is filled with water and machines are running. “So far, all the test results were positive,” he said.
The first turbine, he said would spin on or before May 10. However, before the big day, A K Mishra said that grid synchronization, charging of the stations and substations and other technical procedures need to be completed.
The project was initially expected to complete by mid-2017. As per the DPR, MHPA is a seven-year project, meaning that it should have been completed by September 2017.
However, the managing director said that the project lost 15 months in fulfilling formalities and dealing with natural calamities, for instance, flooding in Phuentsholing that washed equipment and roadblocks in Zomkhalum impeded swift transportation.
Mangdechhu project is expected to export 3 billion units every year to India. The project cost as per the detailed project report (DPR) was around Nu 28.9B at 2008 price level, which was later revised to Nu 40.20B. The cost was again revised to Nu 42.81B at March 2015 price level. Early last year, the cost was revised again to Nu 52.7B at December 2017 price level. This is including the cost of building transmission stations and lines.
The final cost per MW is around Nu 70M, which the managing director claims is the lowest in the region.
The power secretary of India will visit the MHPA and Punatsangchhu project sites today. He is also expected to make a visit at the project site of Sunkosh, which is one of the major hydropower projects the government has planned to implement.