One of four turbines down at Chukha hydro project

September 27 | Kuensel
By Rinzin Wangchuk

With one of the four turbines of the 336 megawatt (MW) Chukha Hydro project broken down for more than a month, the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) is losing millions of Ngultrums in revenue every day.

The turbine reportedly stopped functioning from the second week of August. DGPC and Chukha hydropower project officials refused to comment on the breakdown. However, Kuensel learnt that a team of engineers from Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), India along with the local engineers of Chukha power house have taken out the top bracket of the turbine and are working round the clock to fix the turbine.

The Chukha hydropower plant generates 336MW from four turbines from the flow of the Wangchhu river. The actual capacity for each turbine is 84MW. However, sources said that water inflow increases in summer and units are overloaded by 10 percent, which comes to a power generation between 90MW to 93MW for each turbine.

For instance, three turbines generated 91MGWto 94MW on September 25. When 91MW is converted into kilowatt (1MW=1,000KW), each turbine earns about Nu 5.5M a day.

Kuensel also learnt that while the actual plant generation capacity is 336MW, it increases to 368MW in summer when the hydrology is at its peak.

The export price of Chukha’s power has been revised by 30 Cheltrum a unit following a meeting between the former Prime Minister and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Advantage Assam Investors Summit in Guwahati on February 3, 2018.

The revision from Nu 2.25 a unit to Nu 2.55 was applied retrospectively from January 1, 2017. With the 30 Cheltrum increase, Chukha hydropower project earned about Nu 4.09B from its export earnings in 2017, which amounts to Nu 482.1M in extra revenue.

In 2014, the power tariff was revised from 25 Cheltrum to Nu 2.25 a unit. Chukha exports around 1,800 million units of power to India every year. An increase of one Cheltrum in the export rate will fetch additional revenue of around INR 16M annually.

The tariff was revised around seven times, since the commissioning. It was first sold at INR 0.19 a unit in 1989 when the project was commissioned. Chukha hydropower project is the oldest project commissioned sometime in 1986. It was built on a 60 percent loan and 40 percent grant. The entire loan component has been repaid fully in 2007.

The power from Chukha is sold in West Bengal, Orissa, Sikkim, Jarkhand and Bihar.

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