Bhutanโ€™s Hydropower Ambitions Soar with $5 Million ADB Boost

โ€ฆ๐‘จ๐‘ซ๐‘ฉ ๐’‡๐’–๐’๐’…๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‡๐’–๐’†๐’๐’” ๐‘ต๐’š๐’†๐’“๐’‚ ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’“๐’Š ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ฉ๐’–๐’๐’‚๐’Œ๐’‰๐’‚ ๐‘น๐’†๐’”๐’†๐’“๐’—๐’๐’Š๐’“ ๐‘ท๐’“๐’๐’‹๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’”, ๐’‘๐’‚๐’—๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’†๐’„๐’๐’๐’๐’Ž๐’Š๐’„ ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’”๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’–๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’…๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’๐’๐’‘๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’•

Ngawang Jamphel

The Ministry of Finance secured a US$5 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for two crucial hydropower projects in Bhutan, namely Nyera Amari I and II (404 MW) in Samdrup Jongkhar and Bunakha Reservoir (180 MW) in Chukha.


This funding, allocated to the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), aims to update project reports for international funding. The Managing Director of DGPC, Chhewang Rinzin, highlighted that ADB’s funding covers essential tasks, including checking the details, planning, and studying the environmental impact. The goal is to enhance the projects’ appeal to international investors, with the potential for ADB leading a group of lenders for additional funding. The project updates adhere to both Bhutanese rules and international standards. Nyera Amari I and II and Bunakha Reservoir play a vital role in meeting Bhutan’s energy needs and driving economic growth.


Residents of Samdrup Choling Drungkhag are joyous after securing loans to update Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for Nyera-Amari. This development brings anticipation for positive changes and improvements within the community.
“If the project is initiated, numerous benefits will accrue to the people and the community of Samdrup Choling Drungkhag. Expectations include more infrastructural development and a higher number of people settling, resulting in numerous positive outcomes,” said Pema Lekso, Gup of Pemathang gewog under Samdrup Choling Drungkhag.
Yenten Dorji, Gup of Martshala Gewog, emphasizes the far-reaching impact of the Nyera Amari project. He believes it will not only benefit Samdrup Choling Drungkhag but also contribute positively to the entire nation. The project’s potential impact extends beyond the local community, promising widespread benefits for Bhutan as a whole.
Jamyang Gyeltshen, the gup of Phuntshothang Gewog, says the project will help young people who don’t have jobs. He thinks everyone in the community will benefit from this project because it gives jobs to those who need them. According to him, this project is good for not just one person but for the whole community.


Karma Tempa Gyeltshen, a recent graduate of Norbu Rigterling College, expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming project, stating, “We eagerly anticipate the commencement of this initiative. I believe that numerous young individuals, much like myself, facing unemployment will now have the opportunity to secure employment and generate income.”
Sangay Wangchuk, who runs a cottage industry, expresses his feelings: “Samdrup Choling Drungkhag actually has the capacity for much developmental infrastructure, whether in farming or other businesses. People here are hardworking, but due to limited manpower, the pace of developmental activities is a bit slow. However, if the Nyera Amari project is initiated, it will bring drastic changes to the community.


“After the coal mining and Gyelsung Infra project, small contractors like me will have a great chance for work. We can earn money from these projects,” said Ugyen Dorji, a contractor in Samdrup Choling. He is hopeful that these opportunities will not only benefit his income but also help other local businesses. Ugyen Dorji looks forward to the projects supporting the community’s economy and providing jobs for small contractors like himself.


The Project Preparedness Financing Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Finance, ADB, and DGPC on December 18, 2023, for a concessional loan of USD 5 million to update the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the 404 MW Nyera Amari I&II and 180 MW Bunakha projects. DGPC will immediately initiate the updates of the DPRs. This will pave the way for ADB financing for these two important projects, states the DGPC.

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