What’s in the news?
- India and Bhutan have signed a concession agreement on the 600 MW Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Project (KHEL) for work to start on it.
- The 600 MW run-of-the-river project is located on the lower course of the Kholongchhu river in eastern Bhutan’s Trashiyangtse district.
- The hydroelectric project will be the first-ever Joint Venture project to be implemented in Bhutan under an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed in 2014.
- The joint venture partners of the project are India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) and Druk Green Power Corporation Limited (DGPC).
- Cooperation in the development of the hydropower sector in Bhutan is the centerpiece of the mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Bhutan and India. Hydropower projects are of paramount importance for both our countries as they will serve to further integrate our economies, bring further prosperity, and enhance energy security for both the countries.
- The Kholongchhu project is one of four additional projects agreed to in 2008, as a part of India’s commitment to help Bhutan create a total 10,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020.
- India recently completed the 720 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric project which was jointly inaugurated earlier in August 2019 by the prime ministers of India and Bhutan.
- With this, four hydroelectric projects of bilateral cooperation (336 MW Chukha HEP, 60 MW Kurichhu HEP, 1,020 MW Tala HEP and 720 MW Mangdechhu HEP), totalling over 2,100 MW, are already operational in Bhutan.
- Both sides are in the process of expediting the completion of other ongoing projects, including the 1200MW Punatsangchhu-1 and the 1020MW Punatsangchhu-2.