Friday, June 21, 2024

Welcoming the Winds of Change

As of this post, I have a total of 75 posts related to our hydroelectric power projects. And I am not embarrassed or ashamed that 99.99% of those posts are negative posts - posts that unabashedly chastise our largest and most infamous hydropower undertakings. But I take pride in the fact that they also happen to be among my most popular posts. In terms of readership, three of my posts on the subject rank 4th, 6th and 7th highest read posts on my blog which, as of today, comprises of a staggering 1,127 posts.

Winds of Change?: The advent of a new era in our hydroelectric power aspirations

Notwithstanding my unrestrained, high-octave tirades against our more recent hydroelectric projects, I dare believe that I remain absolved of any wrong doing because I have made it clear that my revulsion for the projects is for the perilous, debilitating manner in which they have been done in Bhutan - NOT hydropower projects per se.

But now I sense that the gentle winds of change is sweeping in - to stoke the fires of our abundant hydroelectric potential - I am truly encouraged!

Harnessing the power of the sun cannot amount to more than a mere stop-gap arrangement - something of a fill-in-the-gap kind of thing - something to tide us over our immediate and burgeoning domestic demand. In my thinking, the real deal still remains the unbridled power that the bountiful nature has gifted us with - the energy and power of the free-flowing WATER.

The recently announced MoU between DGPC and Adani Group of India to explore the possibility of undertaking the construction of the Wangchhu Hydropower Project is a most welcome news. I hope it happens.

While it is as yet unclear as to what will finally be tinkered between the DGPC and the Adani Group – if at all, my own aspirations would be that the collaboration undergoes a marginal upscaling and that it is implemented as a staggered, multi-stage undertaking.

One: implement the 180MW Bunakha Reservoir Hydroelectric Project (BRHEP)
          for which DPR has already been approved for construction during February of 2014.

Two: A couple of years down the line, when major dam construction work is nearing completion,
          start work on the 900MW run-of-the-river scheme Wangchhu Hydropower Project
          at the tail end of the already much abused Wangchhu. I think no one should be in any
          doubt of the multi-faceted benefits to this approach of project implementation.

We also hear that the ill-fated 600MW Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Power Project in the East of the country is likely to happen – in collaboration with the TATA Group of India. That would be great as well. If that arrangement materializes, I am encouraged to believe that another equally valuable opportunity for partnership - one that is not yet in the scheme of things, could be considered for the mutual benefit of both the partners.

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