The 720-megawatts (MW) Mangdechhu hydropower project will soon send its surplus power to India. PTC India Ltd., India’s largest electricity trader, signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Druk Green Power Corporation Limited (DGPC, A Royal Bhutan Govt. Company), the operator of the Mangdechhu hydropower project.
The duration of the PPA is said to be 35years. As per the PPA, surplus electricity from the run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag District of central Bhutan will be supplied to Assam, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal through the Jigmeling and Salakati Sub-station
The project, which is funded by a mix of debt and grant from the government of India is estimated to generate 2,923 GWh (2.923 BUs) of electricity and offset 2.2Mt of CO2 a year. Bhutan, strategically located between India and China, has the potential to generate 30,000 MW of hydropower, but has a capacity of just 1,490 MW.
Cross border energy trade is a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s South Asia-focused neighbourhood-first policy. India has also been playing a key role in creating a new energy security architecture for its neighbours against the backdrop of China’s Belt and Road initiative aimed at connecting countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.
Hydropower exports provide more than 40% of Bhutan’s domestic revenues, and constitute 25% of its gross domestic product (GDP). With commissioning and starting of supply from Mangdechu, PTC will be managing around 2130 MW of hydro capacity from Bhutan. The hydro power shall help in meeting the dual objective of green power requirement and negligible environmental impact.
India has been supplying electricity to Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. This comes in the backdrop of India pitching for a global electricity grid at the first general assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). India has also been championing for a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) electricity grid that envisages meeting electricity demand in the region.