Author: DGPC Media


Power generation dips by 7.5 percent in first 4 months

Kuensel | Thukten Zangpo | June 3, 2023

… power import up by over 50 percent, export fall by over 80 percent

Hydropower generation saw a drop of 7.5 percent between January and April compared to the same period last year.

The overall generation was recorded at 1, 385.97 million units in the first four months of 2023 compared to 1, 498.18 million units of electricity in the same period the previous year.

Managing Director of Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that the decrease was because of shutdown of Tala hydropower plant for the repairs and maintenance of the underwater infrastructure from January to March 16 this year and because of poor hydrology.

In the first four months of 2021 and 2020, the hydropower generation was 1,270 million units and 1,322.87 million units respectively.

The decrease in electricity generation and increase in the domestic consumption by over 40 percent led to the fall in export of electricity by over 80 percent.

The country’s export of electricity fell to 65.33 million units as of April this year compared to 543.13 million units in the same period the previous year. In monetary terms, it decreased to Nu 268.19 million from Nu 1.85 billion.

The export figure includes only the DGPC plants–Tala, Chukha, Kurichhu, Basochhu and Mangdechhu, and excludes Dagachhu power plant. Dagachhu’s electricity export was recorded at Nu 141.77 million in the first four months.

However, the domestic consumption of electricity increased to 1, 252.44 million units worth Nu 2.44 billion compared to 872.72 million units worth Nu 1.7 billion as of April last year.

In an earlier interview, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that an increase in domestic consumption affects overall revenues since the domestic tariff generation is lower than the export tariff.

The DGPC has forecasted the total generation of around 10,798 million units this year from the DGPC plants.

Bhutan also had to import about 50 percent more electricity in 2023. Bhutan purchased 367 million units of electricity worth Nu 1.73 billion for four months from January to April.

The import saw an increase by additional 127 million units or Nu 927.27 million compared to the previous year.

For 2022, Bhutan purchased 240 million units worth Nu 798 million from January to March. The energy import was passed on to high voltage consumers.

According to the DGPC, the import approval for 2022 was sought from the Indian government for the first three months where the purchase was made from the Day Ahead Market of Indian Energy Exchange through a competitive bidding process.

The exchange prices are determined through double-sided auction from buyers and sellers and prices are determined through competitive bidding for every 15 minutes time block, the DGPC MD said.

Bhutan speeds up green hydrogen development

Kuensel | Thukten Zangpo | May 17, 2023

To lessen reliance on imported fossil fuels, the Department of Energy is developing a green hydrogen roadmap. The department has already carried out technical research and a feasibility assessment, and the roadmap is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

According to department officials, the roadmap will detail the necessary procedures and milestones for the development and integration of hydrogen as a key energy carrier across numerous industries, particularly in the transportation sector. It will serve as a model for governments, industry, and stakeholders to follow in order to coordinate efforts and investments in the hydrogen economy.

Bhutan is well-suited for creating green hydrogen through electrolysis since it has abundance of renewable energy sources, especially hydropower. Hydrogen fuel provides a steady and dependable source of electricity that may be used in a variety of industries, including mobility, industrial, and power generation.

Bhutan’s decision to concentrate on green hydrogen is consistent with the country’s aim to carbon neutrality and sustainable growth. The greenhouse gas inventory confirmed the country’s carbon neutral position, with emissions of 3.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2015, offset by sequestration of 9.4 million tonnes of CO2e. Bhutan exceeded the Paris Agreement’s carbon-neutral goal, reaching a net carbon sink balance of 5.6 million tonnes of CO2e.

According to a study, Bhutan’s energy consumption will be more than sixfold, and oil demand will more than sevenfold by 2050, with the transportation sector being the major emitter of greenhouse gases under business-as-usual conditions. Bhutan, on the other hand, can retain its carbon neutrality until 2050 by cutting oil demand in the transportation sector and encouraging the use of electric vehicles and public transportation.

Bhutan’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) describes the need for USD 3.44 billion in investments until 2030 to combat climate change and fulfill its climate goals.

Furthermore, Bhutan has the opportunity to reduce its reliance on imported fuel by manufacturing hydrogen domestically, improving energy security.

Bhutan purchased Nu 11.37 billion in gasoline from India last year, up from Nu 8.35 billion in 2021.

Hydrogen, like natural gas, petroleum, and liquid petroleum gas, is capable of being stored and delivered via pipelines, tankers, and hydrogen trailer vehicles.

Pipelines, however, may not be the most viable choice due to Bhutan’s geographical limitations. Tankers and hydrogen trailer trucks, for example, could play an important role in the transportation and storage of hydrogen.

Because of variables such as high capital costs of equipment and limited economies of scale in hydrogen production, the cost of hydrogen fuel is now higher than that of traditional fossil fuels.

However, the Department of Energy believes that as technology progresses and economies of scale are reached, hydrogen will become more economical and competitive with fossil fuels.

A fuel cell SUV, for example, can go roughly 90 km using only 1 kilogram of hydrogen, but a petrol-powered SUV would take approximately 6-7 liters of gasoline to cover the same distance.

The price of hydrogen for Bhutanese customers would be determined by local market conditions, infrastructural development, and government policies supportive of the hydrogen economy, according to the department officials.

There are several advantages to using electricity for hydrogen production, including the integration of renewable energy sources and energy storage. Hydrogen production through electrolysis provides an avenue for incorporating wind and solar energy into the electricity grid.

The use of electricity for hydrogen synthesis has various advantages, including the use of renewable energy sources and energy storage. Electrolysis produces hydrogen, which can be used to integrate wind and solar energy into the power system.

As Bhutan finalises its green hydrogen programme, the government also plans to produce 700MW of solar electricity, 3MW of biomass, and 50MW of wind energy by 2032. The country has a solar energy capacity of 12GW and a wind energy capacity of 760MW. India started the Hydrogen Mission of India in early 2023, emphasising the global transition to low carbon intensity and reduced reliance on fossil fuel imports.

According to the Hydrogen Council, hydrogen has the potential to meet up to a fifth of the world’s energy needs and create a USD 2.5 trillion industry by 2050.

The growing global demand for green hydrogen reflects countries’ and businesses’ efforts to decarbonise their energy sectors and minimise greenhouse gas emissions. Countries across Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, are developing hydrogen policies and setting targets for hydrogen production and consumption.

Similarly, in Asia, Japan, and South Korea have expressed strong interest in green hydrogen to minimise their reliance on fossil fuels and attain carbon neutrality targets.

KHP awarded for health and safety measures

KHP secured second place in the 2023 annual occupational health and safety assessment and was awarded a certificate of achievement on April 28, 2023. The assessment is conducted by the department of labour, MoICE.

DGPC’s other power plants were also recognised for excellent occupational health and safety practices.

Advocacy on sexual harassment and gender equality

An advocacy program on sexual harassment and gender equality was conducted by RENEW on March 29, 2023.

The resource person from RENEW highlighted on the gender assessment in hydropower, road and bridge construction sites in Bhutan. The prevention of sexual harassment at workplace and its legal provision for protection was also deliberated. About 30 employees from THyE attended the program.

Nikachhu dam is ready

Kuensel | Dechen Dolkar | March 21, 2023

The 118MW Nikachhu Hydro Energy Project in Trongsa crossed another milestone with the second stage of river diversion done on Sunday. With the diversion tunnel plugged in, the dam is now ready to store water.

Officials from the project said that with the plugging of the diversion tunnel completed, the last civil works activity will be completed within the next one to two months.

Officials said that the construction of the dam will be completed by June this year, after which partial filling of the dam will start.

Meanwhile, the concrete lining of the head race tunnel between adits three and four (construction access tunnel), the last critical activity of the project, started after achieving the breakthrough of the tunnel at the geologically difficult faces six and seven in December last year.

The tunnel concrete-lining works are expected to be completed by November this year.

“Despite challenging circumstances, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the Nikachhu project. While congratulating the project management and contractors, we would require them to work even harder to achieve the commissioning of project one,” an official said.

With an overall progress of 90 percent, the Nikachhu project is expected to be commissioned by December this year, at a cost of Nu 13.6B.

The project is a 100 percent subsidy company of Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC).

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Druk Holding and Investments, Dasho Karma Y Raydi, Managing Director of DGPC, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, and other officials attended the event.

Diversion of Nikachhu water

The lowering of the diversion tunnel gate and diversion of Nikachhu from the dam was held on March 19, 2023. The event was graced by DHI chairman, DGPC managing director, and Trongsa dzongda along with officials from THyE, MHP, CDCL, DHyE and HCC.

Training on ISO 2009:2015 Quality Management System at BHSL

Online training on ISO 2009:2015 Quality Management System was held by BSI group from March 13 to 16, 2023 at BHSL. The training aimed at ensuring the company and its employees stay abreast of any changes of ISO compliance and requirements and review and assess the subject knowledge about ISO.

BHSL received ISO 2009:2015 Quality Management System certification in 2018. As part of the annual surveillance audit, BSI also conducted a training for BHSL internal auditors from March 21 to 22, 2023.

Visit of Lhuentse dzongkhag officials

Lhuentse dzongda accompanied by dzongkhag officials visited Yungichhu hydropower project on March 11, 2023. Additionally, the Lam Neten offered serkem (wine libation) for the smooth functioning of the project.

Inaugural blasting of outlet portal at 18 MW Suchhu HPP

The inaugural blasting of the outlet portal at 18 MW Suchhu hydropower project in Sangbaykha, Haa, commenced on March 11, 2023. Haa dzongda along with dzongkhag and gewog officials, contractors, DHyE officials and representatives from the local community attended the ceremony.