Project scheme            : Run-off-the-river
Project commission  : 1986 – 1988

Chhukha hydropower plant in south-west Bhutan is the oldest power plant/profit centre of DGPC. It was then the largest and the most prestigious bilateral project to be considered by the Royal Government of Bhutan and Government of India.

His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the Third King of Bhutan, envisioned the development of hydropower for lighting homes and establishing industries within Bhutan, as well as earning revenue from the export of surplus power to India. This vision of His Majesty’s was fulfilled by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, when the agreement for Chhukha hydroelectric project was signed between the two governments. CPA was constituted to implement the project.

The dam and powerhouse are at an offset of about 6 km from Tsimasham town and 3 km from Chhukha Zero checkpoint on Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway. A 40 m high diversion dam is used for diverting the water for electricity generation. This water is conveyed through a 6.5 km tunnel. Four spillway gates are used for discharging the excess water.

Salient Features

Historical Development

Operational Highlight

Financial Performance

Renovation and Modernisation

Although designed to generate 336 MW with provision for 10% overloading during the monsoon, the original Tail Race Tunnel restricted the generation to 320 MW only. An additional TRT was constructed in 1995 to enable full generation with 10% overloading during peak season.

With the diversion of Tichhalumchhu into the dam and Lubichhu into the surge shaft in 2009, the overall CHP energy generation was augmented by 67 MU annually by utilising the additional water during lean months. In order to overcome problems associated with ageing and obsolescence of spares and support services, and also to improve efficiency and reliability, renovation and modernisation (R&M) works were initiated in 2006. R&M was carried out mainly on the governing system, excitation system, circuit breakers, distance protection system and brackets for generators.

Replacement of stators, upgradation of protection system from electro-mechanical to numerical system and installation of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system are underway.

Socio-Economic Benefits and Sustainability

Although designed to generate 336 MW with provision for 10% overloading during the monsoon, the original Tail Race Tunnel restricted the generation to 320 MW only. An additional TRT was constructed in 1995 to enable full generation with 10% overloading during peak season.

With the diversion of Tichhalumchhu into the dam and Lubichhu into the surge shaft in 2009, the overall CHP energy generation was augmented by 67 MU annually by utilising the additional water during lean months. In order to overcome problems associated with ageing and obsolescence of spares and support services, and also to improve efficiency and reliability, renovation and modernisation (R&M) works were initiated in 2006. R&M was carried out mainly on the governing system, excitation system, circuit breakers, distance protection system and brackets for generators.

Replacement of stators, upgradation of protection system from electro-mechanical to numerical system and installation of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system are underway.

Organogram

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