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Bhutan - Small country, high potential

Bhutan's small and less developed economy, is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry. Its largest export – hydropower to India – has been a key driver for sustainable growth and Bhutan has an impressive annual hydropower potential of 118,260 GWh. It is currently building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 MW, as agreed with India in 2008.

© Chris – stock.adobe.com

ANDRITZ Hydro in Bhutan

For better efficiency and cost-effectiveness, in 2017 Druk Green Power Corp (DGPC) formed a joint venture with ANDRITZ Hydro Private Limited, India, Inc. – Bhutan Automation & Engineering Ltd – to build additional hydropower capacity. A modern facility for the manufacture and integration of automation systems for hydropower plants was also established. This facility specializes in the manufacture and delivery of state-of-the-art automation systems, as well as secondary equipment for power and industrial applications. A Technical Assistance Agreement was also signed between the joint venture partners to use ANDRITZ’s advanced automation systems technology.

Kurichhu: A SCADA system for the 60 MW Kurichhu hydropower plant was identified as a pilot project and in December 2019, re-commissioning of the first unit was completed after a control and automation systems upgrade. This was a milestone in the history of hydropower in Bhutan. The design, engineering, manufacturing, installation, and commissioning of the upgrade works are being executed by Bhutan Automation & Engineering Limited. The contract for replacement of the existing SCADA system including unit, dam, common auxiliary and switchyard controls, as well as governor and excitation systems, was awarded in September 2018. Completion is scheduled for the end of April 2020.

Establishing BHUTAN AUTOMATION not only helps develop in-house capacity, it also reduces dependency on external OEMs. ANDRITZ is also exploring other opportunities in Bhutan to increase its portfolio base.

Chhukha hydropower station, Wangchhu River (Raidak), south-west Bhutan, 4 × 84 MW; Location of Bhutan Automation workshop

© Courtesy of client: Druk Green Power Corp (DGPC)

General Facts

Access to electricity:97%
Installed hydro capacity:1,615 MW
Hydropower under construction:3,058 MW
Share of generation from hydropower:100%
Hydro generation per year:6,960 GWh
Technically feasible hydro generation potential per year:118,260 GWh
Total installed/ rehabilitated units:22
Total installed/ rehabilitated capacity:2,282 MW
Location:Automation workshop in Chhukha

Author: Vibhor Gupta

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