Venturing across Bhutan in seach of power

April 3, 2014

Following on from attending the ASIA 2014 Hydropower & Dams conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Prof. John M. Reynolds, MD of RIL, joined nine other delegates for a post-conference study tour of hydropower facilities in Bhutan.

He was able to visit the 1,020 MW Tala Hydropower Project and the 336 MW Chhukha underground power house with its unique and spectacular 3D painted Buddhist friezes crafted onto a cement veneer over shotcreted bedrock. As part of the plant was undergoing routine maintenance the group was able to clamber right inside one of the turbine chambers to inspect the turbine runner blades. This was a rare opportunity to see the very inner workings of a hydropower plant. The group went on to see the 1,200 MW Punatsangchhu I hydropower project, with access to the 24.5 m diameter surge shaft and underground power house caverns at a very early stage of construction. The group also visited the upper (24 MW) and Lower (40 MW) Basocchu scheme also located on the Punatsangchhu River in south central Bhutan. Prof. Reynolds’ report on the Study Tour is to be published in the third issue 2014 of The International Journal on Hydropower & Dams.