Power generation dips by 10.3% in the first half of 2023

Business Bhutan | Ugyen Tenzin | September 12, 2023

Domestic sales increased by over Nu 1.7 bn while export sales decreased by Nu 2.07bn

Hydropower generation saw a dip of 10.3 % between January and June compared to the same period last year. The overall generation was recorded at 3,158 million units in the first six months of 2023 compared to 3,522.2 million units  of electricity in the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, the decrease in power generation can be attributed to the shutdown of the Tala hydropower plant for repair and maintenance of the underwater infrastructure from January to March 16 last year and because of poor hydrology.

In the first six months of 2020 and 2021, the hydropower generation was 3,770.95 million units and 3,450.41 million units respectively.

The decrease in power generation and increase in domestic consumption by over Nu 1.7 bn worth led to a fall in the export of electricity by over 30%.

The country generated revenue worth Nu 4.6 bn this year for six months while in the same period of last year, the country generated around Nu 6.7 bn by export of the power.

Meanwhile, during the six months, the power generation decrease is attributed mainly to the months of March, April, May, and June.

In the month of March, this year a total of 315.01 million units of power was generated while in the same period last year, 412.99 million units of power was generated.

Similarly in the month of April, a total of 464.96 million units of power was generated, while last year in April, the power generation was 672.09 million units.

In May this year, a total of 647.83 million units of power was generated while in the same period of last year, the power generation was 688.79 million units.

Additionally, in the months of summer, Bhutan is known to produce more power. The power generation in June this year was 1132.06 million units, which is lower by 207.15 million units. In the same period of last year, 1,339.21 million units was generated.

Meanwhile, the total revenue from the power both through export and domestic is Nu 8.2 (8217.08)  bn for the first six months of this year.

While export sales have decreased by almost 30%, domestic sales have increased by almost 101%.

In an earlier interview Dasho Chewang Rinzin, Managing Director of Druk Green Power Corporation Limited (DGCPL), said that reason for the significant difference in the revenue is that in 2022, the domestic sales was 874.19 MU for the months of (Jan-Apr) compared to domestic sales of 1,253.51 MU in 2023 (Jan-Apr).

“In 2022 (Jan-Apr), export was 543.12 MU compared to export of 65.33 MU in 2023 (Jan-Apr).”

He also said that the domestic tariff for sale to BPC decreased from Nu. 1.42 to Nu. 1.34 per unit from September 2022 onward.

Additionally, according to him, the hydrology was much better in 2022 compared to 2023, and despite the shutdown of THP from January to March 16, 2022, it generated almost an equivalent amount of energy in Q1, 2022.

Meanwhile, in 2023, Bhutan had to increase its electricity imports by approximately 50%. Bhutan bought 367 million units of electricity valued at Nu 1.73 bn during the first four months, from January to April. This import marked an additional 127 million units or Nu 927.27 million compared to the previous year.

In 2022, Bhutan procured 240 million units worth Nu 798 million for the same period, which was supplied to high-voltage consumers. The import approval for 2022 was sought from the Indian government for the initial three months, and the purchase was made through a competitive bidding process in the Day Ahead Market of the Indian Energy Exchange. The exchange prices are determined via a double-sided auction involving buyers and sellers, with competitive bidding occurring for every 15-minute time block, as explained by the DGPC MD. of internet connectivity to users.