April 26

India-Bhutan finalised Rs 4.5K crore Mangdecchu hydro projects power tariff protocol

Following prime minister level bilateral agreement between India and Bhutan, both the countries have finally signed tariff protocol for the output of 720 Megawatt (Mw) Mangdechhu hydropower project. First yield of this INR 4.5K crore Bhutan project is to get into India’s national power pool by May-June this year.

Finalization of Mangdechhu tariff protocols has taken place with signing up of an agreement on that by Bhutan’s economic affairs secretary, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi and the power secretary of India, Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Tuesday in Bhutan's capital Thimphu.

Prior to this protocol finalization, basic tariff structure was agreed upon by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering in December last year.

As per the finalized protocol detail provided by Bhutan Government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, the starting tariff for a term of 35 years is Ngultrum 4.21 (Eqv. INR 4.21) per unit. That will go up at a rate of 10% every 5 years till Bhutan’s loan for the project is repaid and 5% afterward. Government of India has funded INR 33.82bn for the project with 70% of that as loan and 30% grant.

Mangdechhu hydroelectric project is a 720MW run-of-river power plant on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag District of central Bhutan. It is being developed by Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) constituted jointly by Governments of India and Bhutan.

“Initiated in 2010, it is one of the major projects under Bhutan’s initiative to generate 10,000MW hydropower by 2020 with Indian support,” said Debajit Chattopadhyay, Executive Director NHPC.

NHPC acted as the design and engineering consultant for the project that is estimated to generate 2,923GWh of electricity and offset 2.2 million tonnes of CO² a year from the atmosphere. Lion’s share of the output will be put into Indian national grid through Siliguri in Indian state West Bengal via Bhutan’s Jigmeling substation by two 400kV double-circuit transmission lines.

Following onset of construction in June 2012, commissioning of Mangdecchu was initially planned for Sep 2017. But following few episodes of delays, first unit of the project is now expected to come to life in May 2019, to be followed by all its other units by end June.

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