Commissioning of the Dagachhu Hydroelectric Project, Bhutan

Commissioning of the Dagachhu Hydroelectric Project, Bhutan

The commissioning tests of the first unit of 63 MW of the Dagachhu Hydroelectric Project were successfully completed and the “Commercial Operation Date” for the first unit was declared at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2015.

The Bhutanese National Load Dispatch Center (NLDC) was immediately informed and the NLDC relayed the confirmation of the declaration of the “Commercial Operation Date” to the Indian authorities at the Eastern Regional Load Dispatch Centre in Kolkata (ERLDC) and the Indian National Load Dispatch Center in Delhi. After having completed these requirements of the Indian grid, the commercial flow of energy generated from the Dagachhu project to India officially started at 00:30 Hours in the morning of February 21, 2015, coinciding with the 35th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the King. The first joint meter reading was taken at 00:30 Hours with the generation recording at 14.30 MW.

After missing a number of deadlines for the commissioning of the project, with the first unit being commissioned, this is the last major milestone for the 126 MW Dagachhu project.

Since the river discharge in the Dagachhu is at the lowest at the present juncture at around 5-6 cumecs, the Dagachhu project will be generating around 12.5 MW at the present juncture. A team to oversee the operations of the power plant is already available with the project. Since the energy from the project is being traded in the short and medium term market in India, the Dagachhu project has to comply with the Indian code for such grid operations. An expert from the Tata Power Company is helping the Dagachhu project in dealing with the Indian grid requirements.

Meanwhile, the commissioning tests for the second unit of 63 MW will be started immediately and the tests are scheduled for completion within a month.

The Dagachhu project is the first hydropower project to be managed by a Bhutanese team with a review consultant from Austria. Hindustan Construction Company was the civil works contractor, while a consortium of Andritz Hydro and Alstom of Austria was the electro-mechanical contractor. The Dagachhu hydroelectric project is also the first cross-border CDM project.

Dagachhu Hydro Power Corporation Limited Chairman and Druk Green Power Corporation Limited Managing Director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, was the Chief Guest on the occasion of declaring the “Commercial Operation Date” for the first generating unit of the Dagachhu project. Lam Neten, Dasho Dzongkhag and sector heads of the Dagana Dzongkhag, representatives of the contractors, and project officials attended the ceremony.