Bhutan’s Bold Energy Vision: 2024-25 Budget Introduces Major Hydro and Solar Projects

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A budget document or plan document does not reveal much beyond budgetary information of government agencies but this time around the 2024-25 budget document has laid out an ambitious timeline of 11,930 MW of small, medium and big hydro projects.

It also lays out plans to build 1,226 MW of solar projects.

With Tala, Chukha, Mangdechu, Basochu, Dagachu, Nikachhu and Kurichu the current power generation capacity of the country stands at 2,452.7 MW, which is 6.7 percent of the total estimated hydro-power potential of the country.

Apart from the existing hydropower projects, a total of seven projects are in various stages of construction and upon fully commissioning, these hydropower and solar plants would add another capacity of 2,347 MW like 1,200 MW P I, 1020 MW P II, 18 MW Suchhu, 54 MW Burgangchhu, 32 MW Yungichhu and 23 MW Sephu solar project.

There are then nine planned large hydropower projects coming to 10,579 MW.

These are 600 MW Kholongchhu to start in September 2024 with expected completion date of March 2029.  The project implementation modality is under discussion.

 1,125 MW Dorjilung will start on October 2025 and expected completion date is October 2031. Its DPR is being updated and the World Bank has been requested to lead the financing consortium.

180 MW Bunakha (Storage Scheme) will start on February 2026 and be completed by February 2032. Its DPR is being updated and the ADB is requested to lead the financing consortium.

404 MW Nyera Amari-I &II will start on October 2026 and expect to be completed by October 2031. Its DPR is being updated and ADB is requested to lead the financing consortium.

770 MW Chamkharchhu-I will start on October 2026 and be completed by October 2032. The DPR is to be reviewed.

The 900 MW Wangchhu (Storage Scheme) will start on April 2027 and be completed by April 2034. The DPR is to be reviewed with preference for a 900 MW reservoir option.

740 MW Gongri will start on August 2027 and be completed by September 2034. The DPR is being updated,

1,800 MW Gongri-Jerichhu will start on November 2027 with expected completion on December 2034. The DPR is being updated.

4,060 MW Sunkosh will start on December 2026 and  is expected to be completed by December 2034.  Its social impact is being updated.

Apart from the mega projects of above, many small projects will also aimed to be built.

In phase II 195 MW of 5 small projects is planned. These are 18 MW Druk Bindu I, 8 MW Druk Bindu II, 54 MW Gamri-I, 90 MW Jomori and 25 MW Begana. These are all slated to start in 2024 and may take 2 to 3 years each to complete. All DPRs are complete and in three of them, road works are going on.

In phase III 259 MW of 5 small projects are planned.  These are 85 MW Gamri, 24 MW Yurmochhu, 33 MW Paro chhu, 53 MW Sherichhu and 64 MW Jigmechhu. The projects are under recce and feasibility study with starts dates varying from 2025 to 2028 and completion dates from 2029 to 2031.

In phase III 3 medium sized projects of 770 MW is being planned to carried out. These are 170 MW Dangchhu, 363 MW Komachhu and 237 MW Jongthang. They are mainly under feasibility study and the planned start dates are all in 2028 with completion varying around 2032 to 2033.

Apart from the hydro projects there are 16 solar projects planned which add up to 1,226 MW.

These are all over the country but the biggest ones are 200 MW in Gelephu, 200 MW in Merak Sakteng, 150 MW in Dagana, 140 MW in Trongsa, 120 mw in Jamjee and 108 MW in Wobthang.

The start dates of the 16 projects vary from 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2029 with completion taking a year.

Most of them are under study while 23 MW Sephu is under construction, 120 mw Jamjee is under the tender process along with the 8 MW solar rooftop.

The 13th Five Year Plan document says as a strategic national resource and primary revenue generator, hydropower stands as a cornerstone of Bhutan’s economic growth.

Investments in this renewable energy source will therefore be accelerated, towards enhancing energy security and to support development of domestic industries and diversification of the economy.

The completion of ongoing hydropower projects, and initiation of new projects, will be complemented by the development of energy storage systems and other related infrastructure components.

Alternative renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass will be leveraged, to contribute to the energy mix and enhance energy security.

There is also a plan for 23 MW of wind power projects.

There is a plan to also implement a 1 MW pilot Green Hydrogen Project.

 

Source : The Bhutanese