Kurichhu Hydropower Plant


The Kurichhu Hydropower Plant is located at Gyalpozhing, Mongar, on the Kurichhu River in Eastern Bhutan. It is a run-of-river scheme, with a dam of height 55 m (from its deepest foundation), crest length of 285 m and a surface power house located at the toe of the dam. The Project has an installed capacity of 60 MW consisting of four units of 15 MW each and a mean annual energy generation capacity of 400 million units (MU). The Kaplan turbine operates with a net head of 32 m and discharge of 53 m3/sec per unit. A unique feature of the project is the fish ladder for migration of fish.

The Kurichhu Project Authority was established to control and monitor the construction work, and to arrange funds for the construction. The Authority entered into an agreement with the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited, (NHPC) a Government of India agency, for the turnkey execution of the project. The Authority appointed Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) as review Consultants. The construction activities started in 1995 with the diversion tunnel works.

NHPC separately entered into a contract agreements with M/s. Asian Techs Ltd. for the construction of the diversion tunnel, with M/s. Hindustan Construction Company for the construction of dam, with M/s. Gammon India Limited for the construction of power house, with M/s. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited for the supply and erection of electro-mechanical equipment, and with M/s. Om Metals and Minerals Limited for the supply and erection of hydro-mechanical equipment, and with M/s. Prem Power Construction Limited for the construction of 132 kV transmission lines. A host of other smaller Indian and Bhutanese firms also participated in the construction of the Project.

The first 15 MW machine was spun on April 13, 2001. This first unit was synchronized to the Indian North Eastern grid on August 13, 2001, followed by the second unit on August 15, 2001, and the third unit on September 27, 2001. Commercial operation started from November 1, 2001. The fourth unit was commissioned on May 31, 2002.

The Kurichhu Hydropower Plant was formally inaugurated by HRH Trongsa Poenlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and H.E Shri Sudhir Vyas, Ambassador of India to Bhutan, on April 26, 2006.


Project Finance

DSC00408In February 1994, the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan entered into an Agreement to construct the project wherein the Government of India agreed to finance the Project in the ratio of 60% grant and 40% loan repayable over a period of 12 years at a simple interest rate of 10.75%. The final cost of the Project on completion, including 68 km of 132 kV transmission line from Gyalpozhing to Nanglam, was Nu. 5,600 million, excluding the interest accrued during construction. The Royal Government of Bhutan further funded Nu. 40 million towards acquisition of land, providing communication network, and other infrastructure not covered under the scope of the Project.

The repayment of loan component amounting to Nu. 2240 million to the Government of India started in July 2004, the interest accrued during construction amounted to Nu. 1,035.529 million. So far, Nu. 746.667 million of the loan amount was paid and a total of Nu. 1.553 billion was paid, including principal and interest at the rate of 10.75% per annum.

The transmission system of KHP was handed over to BPCL on December 31, 2003, along with all the assets, inventories, and associated manpower with a total assets value Nu. 641,494,889.26.



Kurichhu Hydro Power Plant as of 1st July 2013

SN Education Qualification Arts & Commerce Electrical Engineer Mechanical Engineer Civil Engineer IT others Total
1 PhD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Masters Degree 1 2 0 0 0 0 3
3 Bachelors Degree 5 6 1 3 0   15
4 Diploma or Equivalent 0 10 13 1 1 0 25
5 RTI or Equivalent 2 25 32 6 1   66
6 Others 92 0 0 0 0 0 92









Operational and Financial Performance

DSC00001During the peak power generation season, over 60% of the power generated from the Plant is being exported to India. The Kurichhu Hydropower Plant is providing power supply to eight Dzongkhags in eastern and central Bhutan. The drastic increase in the domestic consumption since February 2007 was mainly due to the commissioning of Ferro-Silicon factory at Motanga/Rabtenling Industrial estate at Samdrupjongkhar. The performance of KHP in generation, export to India, and sale to BPC for the last three years is shown in figure below :

KHP is still faced with frequent outages of single transmission line, which restricts the full generation during the peak season. Over the years the performance of KHP had improved significantly while in 2008, KHP had achieved highest generation so far.  With ever expanding rural electrification and with urban and industrial growth the domestic consumption is increasing rapidly, resulting in revenue decreases.

It may be noted that the most recent revision of KHP export power tariff was negotiated between the two governments of India and Bhutan, where in the export power tariff was revised from Rs. 1.80 per unit to Rs. 1.89 per unit with effect from January 1, 2008. It was also agreed that henceforth the KHP export tariff will be pegged to THP export tariff and whenever there is a revision in the power tariff of the later, the KHP export tariff will also automatically stand revised.

(Nu. per kWh)
  June 1, 2001 -
  Dec 31, 2007 
  Jan 1, 2008 -
  Nov 30, 2011 
  Dec 1, 2011-
Sale to BPC

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