Millions in hydro equipment lost during flooding in Bhutan

Hydro equipment valued at BTN500 million (US$7.5 million) to BTN1 billion ($15 million) has been submerged or washed away during recent flooding in Bhutan, according to Kuensel online.

The materials were stored at Bangay Bazaar in Phuentsholing and belonged to the 1,200-MW Punatsangchhu I, 1,020-MW Punatsangchhu II and 720-MW Mangdechhu hydropower projects, according to a construction manager with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

BHEL is engaged in retrieving the submerged equipment and has been able to retrieve some. Although the materials are intended for specific plants under construction, BHEL says these projects will not be delayed because the lost equipment is for use “during the later stages of the hydropower construction.”

If the equipment cannot be found, BHEL will have to bear the losses.

All three projects are under construction on the Punatsangchhu River and Mangdechhu River. Punatsangchhu I, in the Southern Himalayas, is estimated to cost US$1.74 billion to develop. It will feature a concrete dam 130 m high by 239 m long and an underground powerhouse with six 200-MW turbine-generator units.

Bhutan has an estimated 30 GW of hydroelectric potential.

BHEL is a power plant equipment manufacturer based in India.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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