Electricity import in winter to almost double

2023 sees a dip in hydropower revenue

The hydropower revenue generation from six hydropower plants, namely, Bassochhu Hydropower Plant (BHP), Chhukha Hydropower Plant (CHP), Dagachhu Hydropower Corporation (DHPC), Kurichhu Hydropower Plant (KHP), Tala Hydropower Plant (THP) and Mangdechhu Hydropower Plant (MHP) decreased by about Nu 3.24 billion (B) in 2023.

The year saw the generation of about Nu 23.82B including export sales as compared to power revenue generated of about Nu 27.06B from the export sales and domestic sales in the year 2022.

According to the latest data from the respective hydropower plants, the decrease in the revenue generation during the year 2023 as compared to 2022 is attributed to decreased revenue from the export sales of about Nu 2.9B in 2023 as compared to Nu 4.05B in 2022, a decrease by about Nu 1B.

Reports also show that during the month of August last year, the hydropower plants made the highest export sale of about Nu 4B, followed by Nu 3.39B and Nu 3.14B in the months of July and June respectively.

However, as compared to the export sales of 2022 in the same months of August, July and June, the export sales in 2023 decreased by almost Nu 417 million (M) in the same month.

The least export sales in 2023 was made during the months of December, January, February and March with Nu 66.59M, Nu 75.19M, Nu 58.18M and Nu 85.14M respectively.

As of the domestic sales, the hydropower plants made the highest domestic sales during the months of November and December in 2023 with Nu 845.47M and Nu 693.91M respectively followed by April with Nu 795.26M.

Further, in 2023 the hydropower plants generated more revenue from the domestic sales as compared to domestic sale in the year 2022 with about Nu 6.47B in 2023 and about Nu 4.40B in 2022.

The increase in the domestic sale is attributed to increased domestic sale during the month of November in 2023 with about Nu 845.47M as compared to Nu 396.89M in the same month in 2022.

Meanwhile, about 10,537.46M units of power was generated by the hydropower plants during 2023 and in 2022 about 10,749.63M unites of power was generated, a decrease by about 212.17M units of powers.

In 2023, the highest units of powers were produced during the months of July, August and September with 1,847.93M units, 1.837.14M units and 1,504.21M units respectively, an increase in the production units by about 353M units of power as compare to 2022.

Similarly, the least units of power were produced during the months of February and March with 265.88M units and 315.01M units respectively while 185.17M units and 412.99M units were produced in the same months in 2022.

Meanwhile, DGPC’s Managing Director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin in an interaction with the Bhutanese media earlier had said that despite shutting down of the Tala hydropower plant for repair and maintenance from January to March 2022, the generation from DGPC’s plants last year decreased by 275.58 M units mainly because of poor hydrology.

Bhutan once had the ambitious plan to generate 10,000MW of electricity by 2020, which did not see the day. The new focus is to generate around 7,600MW from 10 projects. According to the 2023-24 budget report, the 10 projects in pipeline are the 600MW Kholongchhu hydroelectric project, that has come to a halt, the 2,640MW Kuri-Gongri hydroelectric project, 1,125 Dorjilung hydropower project, 404MW Nyera Amari hydro-power project, 180MW Bunakha reservoir hydroelectric project, 2,500MW integrated Gongri reservoir/Jerichhu pumped storage project and five small hydropower projects that will generate 181MW.

During the 116th National Day Address His Majesty The King said that considering Bhutan’s current expertise, Bhutan needs to enhance the installed capacity of hydropower by expediting the construction of projects such as Kholongchu, Chamkharchu, Dorjilung, Nyera Amari, Wangchu, Bunakha and Sunkosh, for which Detailed Project Reports are ready.

His Majesty also said Bhutan’s electricity prices should be among the most competitive in the region, this would make hydropower not just a source of revenue but also one that would promote and enable other investments.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu