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2023 sees lowest ever hydropower generation and revenue

Nu 3 bn lesser than in 2022 but Nikachu and PII to improve generation in 2024

In what is bad news for the government treasury, poor hydrology has ensured that 2023 has seen the lowest ever power and revenue generation since 2019.

In 2023 a total of Nu 25.115 bn in power was generated compared to Nu 28 bn in 2022, 28.22 bn in 2021 and Nu 30 bn in 2020.

In 2023 the highest revenue was generated by the 720 MW Mangdechu at Nu 12.560 bn due to its higher tariff, followed by the 1020 MW Tala project at 5.962 bn, 336 MW Chukha at 4.582 bn, 126 MW Dagachu at 1.219 bn, 64 mw Basochu at 600.76 mn, 60 MW Kurichu at 532.30 mn, and finally mini hydro projects and solar at Nu 26.31 mn.

However, not everything produced is revenue as loan repayments have to be made of around 5 bn plus and then there are Operation and Maintenance costs which means the final actual revenue is around Nu 17.3 bn.

The domestic consumption of power is going up and 2023 is the highest ever.

For the first time, the power generated by Tala, Chukha, Basochu and Kurichu has seen higher internal consumption at 53% with only 47% being exported. This also makes sense as the tariff for these projects are lower.

The higher tariff Mangdechu saw 77.45% of its power being exported while 22.55% was consumed internally. This is also the highest ever domestic consumption for this project.

The hydropower generation figures should improve with the commissioning of the 118 MW Nikachu project and the 1020 MW Punatsangchu II project.

In Nikachu the main Contract Package of Civil and Hydro-Mechanical Works was awarded to Hindustan Construction Company on April 20, 2016. Commissioning is in progress and commissioning of one of the Units (Unit 2) was declared on January 25, 2024. There were delays encountered due to poor geology in the head race tunnel section and also due to Covid pandemic. The energy sale started from 00.00 hrs. of January 25, 2024.

The cost of the project so far is Nu 15.68 bn and it was financed through DGPC’s own funds and loans from the ADB and loan from an Indian bank.

Nikachu is expected to generate Nu 1.505 bn in revenue in a year which after loan deduction would be Nu 527.64 mn.

The Nikachu tariff is starting at Nu 3.30 per unit and will reach Nu 6.10 by 2040.

The electro mechanical equipment is from Voith Hydro, India and so it is a semi-automated plant.

The 1020 MW P II project’s official date to start commissioning its units are October 2024 but the project is aiming to commission its first two units of 340 MW by July or August 2024 and then one unit per month with full commission by December 2024.

P II is trying to hurry the works to take advantage of power generation in monsoon. It has 6 units of 170 MW each.

The P II management said that overall only 4 percent of the works is left with the dam complete, HRT tunnel complete and only 8% of civil works left in the powerhouse and 14% in the electromechanical equipment works.

The project cost Nu 94.45 bn.

Meanwhile drilling of rock samples are going on at the P I right bank area. In the first phase 7 samples will be drilled of 200 meters length with 6 samples in the second phase and some more if required in the third phase.

Then geologists and experts of both countries will study these rock samples to see of the dam can be built at the current location or not.

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