Economic Times Bureau: Come winter, the king becomes seeker. And the distressed need is showing an upward trend. Diminishing hydropower production trend of the green power king Bhutan is going to be a major concern for India, too dependent on water based power from the Himalayan neighbour.
In one side, while Bhutan’s own demand during dry winter season is increasing at a rapid pace, its average annual production from the existing plants is going down. As a matter of concern, “By, 2020, India will be a party to over INR 65000 Crore investment in power production capacity augmentation in Bhutan. But it is not clear how far this project will be able to fulfill the expectation,” senior West Bengal state Power department official.
The crisis is bi directional. Bhutan’s power generation is entirely dependent on water that reaches bottom level during dry winter season forcing the country to import power despite its existing generation of around 6500 MU, much higher than average domestic demand of near 1500 MU.
Total import from India between October-March stands around 40MW. Against this, following last two months trend, it is expected to touch 50 to 60 megawatt by march 2014- informed officials from Druk Green Power Corporation(DGPC), that takes care of Bhutan’s Hydropower initiatives. As estimated, Bhutan’s present wintertime import need is 160MU which is growing by 25% annually. – they explained.
On the other side, according to DGPC MD Mr. C Rinzin, Bhutan has recorded its lowest overall energy generation since 2007- mainly due to poor hydrology and increased domestic consumption. “That is a concern,” he said.
“Though new projects are coming up, gradually diminishing water volume will force these projects to run with an output lesser than installed capacity making inadequate return against the investment,” they said. “Bhutan is at present on a mission to achieve 10,000 MW additional installed capacity by 2020 in co-operation with the Government of India,” said Mr. Dasho Tsering Wangda, Consul General of Bhutan in India. “Being the largest buyer of Bhutan’s hydropower and sole stakeholder of this additional capacity, India hosts the largest share of financial responsibility involved into this new initiative.
Naturally, “The whole hydrological dynamics is gradually coming up as a concern for India too,” said senior hydrologists and geologists.
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