POWER EXPORT TO COST BILLIONS
Mar 21, 2012 - bhutantoday.bt
The Royal Government of Bhutan’s (RGoB) ambition to harness and export 10,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power to India by 2020 will be a mamoth task looking at projected figures. Sources from the Department of Energy (DoE) say Bhutan will need to build a huge network of transmission lines that is projected to cost anywhere between Nu 50 to 60 billions.
According to projections by the DoE, total HEP generation by 2020 will be around 11,488MW. By then, peak domestic demand, which is less than 300MW today, is expected to be around 1,500MW if the economy grows at the same rate. The remaining 9,988MW will be exported to India.
The department of energy has also worked out a national transmission grid master plan, to provide a road map of building transmission lines and substations for export of surplus hydropower to India, once the ten projects under the 10,000MW initiative become operational.
Pooling stations in India and Bhutan will need to be identified to transmit power to the load centres in India.
Officials from the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) shared that the Indian government will finance the additional 1,460kms of transmission lines for the ten projects to export power.
As of now, Bhutan has 1,007kms of high voltage transmission lines built for Tala, Chukha, Basochu and Kurichu hydropower projects. ”But these transmis¬sion lines are built individually, without any holistic national plan,” officials added.
Meanwhile, the department of energy, in consultation with the central electricity authority of India, is preparing the master plan which is expected to cost about Nu 18 million.
The master plan project, implemented in January 2010, is in its final stages, and will be completed by December this year. The plan will also serve as a road map beyond 2020 if or when new projects are to be built.
The executive engineer of department of energy, Karma Tshewang, said the national grid master plan was felt necessary to ensure minimum environmental impact, and the difficulty of getting right of way to build thousands of kilometres of transmission lines.
”The master plan will basically be a holistic approach, which will guide the Bhutan Power Corporation and new projects in building transmission lines from the projects to the Indian border, after which it will be connected to the Indian towers,” he added.
Karma Tshewang said, the transmission lines will have to be built by the projects themselves up to the Indian border. ”We want to avoid a criss-cross of transmission lines across the nation.”
The master plan will provide directions as to how and where to build the lines. DoE will be organizing a workshop by October this year in Paro, where India’s central electricity authority officials will be presenting the final draft of the master plan to Bhutan’s electricity sector, the national environment commission, land commission and the forestry department.
The first project to build transmission lines based on the master plan will be the Mangdechu project, which has 720MW installed capacity, the construction of which began this year, and will be completed before the Punatshangchu I and II HEPs.