Home Economy Bhutan’s Tala power project exceeds generation forecast

Bhutan’s Tala power project exceeds generation forecast


New Delhi : The 1,020 MW Tala hydroelectric project in western Bhutan, the biggest joint project between India and the Druk kingdom, has already exceeded the power generation forecast for 2006-07, a year ahead of its official commissioning.

Though the project is to be formally commissioned in 2008, it has already generated 1,395 million units, exceeding the generation forecast of 1,328 units for 2006-7, and earning a gross revenue of Nu 2.12 billion ($52 million).

R.N. Khazanchi, managing director of the project, disclosed the information at a meeting in Thimphu last week with Bhutan Trade Minister Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, ambassador to India Lyonpo Dago Tshering and India's special secretary for external affairs Shhela Bhinde.

The unexpected success comes even though the commissioning of the plant was delayed from June 2005 to June 2006 due to geographical problems.

Erected at an estimated cost of Nu 40 billion, the project is expected to generate 4.8 billion units per year. The entire energy generated is to be exported to India.

Funded by the Indian government with grants and a loan, the Tala project is expected to double Bhutan's per capital income.

India's Power Grid Corporation of India (PCI) and Tata Power have formed a joint venture to transmit the power to northern India, transferring 1,000 MW in the first phase and then upping it to 3,000 MW.

Once formally commissioned, the project will come as a boon for northern India that is grappling with an acute power scarcity.

Though India has also been exploring hydropower projects in its northern neighbour Nepal – that too has immense hydropower potential – none of the big projects have taken off so far due to political instability and the anti-India lobby.