PM graces Salang Tendrel ceremony of Yungichhu Hydropower Project

The estimated project cost is Nu 3,565mn

In what is a significant milestone for Bhutan’s hydropower sector, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering graced the Salang Tendrel ceremony at the powerhouse of the 32MW Yungichhu Hydropower Project in Maetsho gewog, Lhuentse.

At an estimated project cost of Nu 3,565mn, the Yungichhu Hydropower Project is expected to complete in three years.

This is the pioneering project to be launched under the first phase of the Small Hydropower Projects which will also include the construction of the 54MW Burgangchhu in Nangkor Gewog, Zhemgang, and 18MW Suchhu in Sangbaykha Gewog, Haa. Currently work is underway to build roads to the powerhouse and intake locations at these two sites.

The idea of building numerous small hydro projects across the country was initiated by the government when the country was experiencing major economic difficulties due to the pandemic.

“Located in some of the most remote areas of the country, these small hydropower projects will help to accelerate post-pandemic economy recovery, generate employment and bring tangible economic benefits to the people at the grassroots level,” states the press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

With an aggregated installed capacity of 104MW, the three small hydropower projects will contribute to strengthening overall energy security and improving grid stability in the country, according to the press release.

“The small power projects will be particularly important in the event of natural disasters when power supply from the main grid could be disrupted. Prolonged power shortage could adversely affect the livelihood of the people and hamper post-disaster recovery as almost all households are now dependent on electricity on a daily basis,” states the press release.

The Druk Green Power Corporation conducted the feasibility studies and developed the Detailed Project Reports. The Druk Hydro Energy Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of DGPC will oversee the implementation of the projects. The construction works at all three sites will be undertaken by Bhutanese contractors. The small power plants will be fully automated using the latest state-of-the-art technology to ensure an uninterrupted power supply and low operations and maintenance cost.

“The three power projects are expected to employ at least one thousand Bhutanese youth during the construction phase including a hundred De-suups who will be deployed through the Desuung National Service for Hydropower Construction at the Yungichhu site,” states the press release.

The DGPC is currently conducting feasibility studies for the four potential projects to be undertaken in the second phase of Small Hydropower Project Construction. With cumulative experience and advanced technical expertise, the company looks forward to undertaking higher capacity projects including small reservoir plants.

Staff Reporter from Thimphu