Tala Plant could be temporarily shut down in winter

The Tala Hydropower Plant (THP) in Chhukha could be shut down for three months in winter. A group of international experts is currently analysing an inspection report of the plant’s headrace tunnel. According to the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), the plant would be shut down if the expert group recommends a physical inspection of the tunnel.

The DGPC used a remotely operated vehicle equipped with underwater cameras and sonar technology to inspect the tunnel in March. It was initiated since late 2018, pieces of concrete debris started appearing at the distributor and nozzle injectors in the powerhouse.

A distributor is a part of a turbine that contains and guides the water from the inlet to exit. The nozzle injectors control the water flow to the turbines.

The DGPC’s Managing Director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, said, “Dewatering and refilling of the headrace tunnel have to be undertaken slowly, and this exercise could take one to two months. In case the physical inspection reveals that rectification works are required, it could take another month or so depending on the extent of the measures.”

“If the plant needs to be shut down, it will be scheduled during the leanest river discharge winter months so generation and revenue losses are minimized.”

The expert’s analysis is expected within this month.

The 1,020 MW THP is the country’s largest plant and a major contributor to domestic revenue. Its daily revenue generation during the peak season is about Nu 55 M.

At the moment, although all the six units of the plant can run at full capacity, only three units are operational. Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that the river discharge has reduced and is sufficient for operating only three generating units.

“The present partial generation of around 600 MW is only due to low river discharge, which is normal during this time of the year.”

Sangay Chezom

Edited by Sonam Wangdi

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