Capacity Development for Monitoring of Hydropower Plant Safety, Final Phase

Contract partner: GNHC / RGoB - Gross National Happiness Commission - Royal Government of BhutanCountry: Bhutan Funding amount: € 600.000,00Project start: 15.10.2019End: 30.06.2023

Short Description:

Overall goal

The implementation of the final phase of project ‘Capacity Development for Monitoring of Hydropower Plant Safety’ aims to secure the current hydropower generation capacity of 1,606 Megawatt (MW) as well as the functionality of future hydropower plants and ensure uninterrupted energy supply to over 160,000 households. It further aims towards maximizing the national revenue through export of electricity to India and to increase the contribution to national revenue from 10% in 2017 to 12% in 2023. The safeguarding and minimization of risks to existing hydropower plants through prudent foresight and early warning systems constitutes another key objective of the project which will contribute to ensuring the reliability of energy supply.

The in-house capacity of the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) on early detection and warning systems will be further strengthened through additional instrumentation and sustained monitoring of the safety of hydropower plants and underground structures so that risks which could cause catastrophic accidents are detected early and damages minimized.

Expected results

Output 1: Adequate instruments in critical structures of hydropower plants in place

Output 2: Enhanced instrumentation and monitoring capacity

Output 3: Provision of technical backstopping to 118 MW Tangsibji Hydro Energy Limited

After completion of the final phase, DGPC will have a pool of 33 capacitated engineers in the field of instrumentation and monitoring of hydropower plants.

Target group / Beneficiaries

The primary target group is composed of a total of 105 persons (30 engineers from DGPC, 70 students and 5 lecturers):

The target group is composed of:

• 2 female surveyor/engineers from DGPC who will receive continued training in precision measurement and data analysis of settlement/ movement of civil and other structures;

• 10 Civil Engineers (2 female engineers) at the Power Plants/Corporate Office who will be trained in carrying out day to day instrumentation and monitoring of geotechnical devices;

• 1 engineer from DGPC who will undertake a master’s degree in Austria in Sustainable/ Renewable Energy System;

• 2 engineers from DGPC who will undertake a master’s degree in Austria in Tunneling;

• 15 engineers from DGPC who will be trained in the field of instrumentation and monitoring of hydropower plants;

• 25 female & 45 male students, and 5 lecturers from the Royal University of Bhutan will be trained on hydropower construction, instrumentation and monitoring through workshops and seminars.

Indirect Beneficiaries:

Populations and wildlife habitats living along runoff areas downstream of hydropower plants shall benefit through such initiatives since the project aims to identify hazards like possible dam failure which may affect the land, natural habitat and properties. The project will allow observant monitoring of such hazards and enable counter measures to be taken.


The key interventions of the projects include:

*) Review the performance and adequacy of instrumentations installed in various components of each of the power plant and submit findings and recommendations for improvement, augmentation and modernization;

*) Assistance in identification, tendering and installation of equipment in line with defined technical specifications to re-established, refurbish and replace the required instrumentations.

*) Capacity strengthening of DGPC engineers in the use of various instrumentations, data management/ regulation, sustainable/ renewable energy and tunneling.

*) Validation and recommendation to geotechnical appraisals and design with regard to the ongoing construction of hydropower plants.


The hydropower structures in Bhutan have been installed with different instrumentation techniques; however, the frequent teething issue, e.g., rock bolt failures in Tala Hydropower Plant (THP), creeping movement/settlements of structures and cracks which are undetectable through visual inspections are some of the persisting issues in the power plants.

DGPC, with technical backstopping from consultants from Consortium BERNARD-POYRY, successfully implemented and achieved the intended results of the phase 1 of the project through the three years (2016 – 2018) support of EUR 1.3 million from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The 2019 external evaluation confirmed the relevance of the project and its successful implementation including the enhanced competencies for 3D monitoring and precision levelling (a part of instrumentation). However, the evaluation noted capacity gaps and recommended to consolidate the development of the capacities.

To promote the sustainability of capacity development on hydropower engineering, DGPC has set up the Hydropower Research and Development Centre which will lead the implementation of activities. DGPC concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Graz University of Technology (TUG), Austria, in October 2018 to support each other through technical assistance, sharing of expertise, training, conferences, field visits and study tours.

The project directly contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 in ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all Bhutanese and is in line with the Bhutan Country Strategy 2019 – 2023.

project number2296-00/2019
source of fundingOEZA
sector Energiegewinnung /erneuerbare Energiequellen
modalityProject-type interventions
marker Environment: 1, Climate change mitigation: 1, Poverty: 1
  • Policy marker: are used to identify, assess and facilitate the monitoring of activities in support of policy objectives concerning gender equality, aid to environment, participatory development/good governance, trade development and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Activities targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions include the identification of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and desertification.
    • 1= policy is a significant objective of the activity
    • 2= policy is the principal objective of the activity
  • Donor/ source of funding: The ADA is not only implementing projects and programmes of the Austrian Development Cooperation , but also projects funded from other sources and donors such as
    • AKF - Foreign Disaster Fund of the Austrian federal government
    • BMLFUW - Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
    • EU - Funds of the European Commission
    • Others - various other donors are listed in ADA’s annual business report.
  • Type of Aid – Aid modalities: classifies transfers from the donor to the first recipient of funds such as budget support, core contributions and pooled programmes and funds to CSOs and multilateral organisations, project-type interventions, experts and other technical assistance, scholarships and student costs in donor countries, debt relief, administrative costs and other in-donor expenditures.
  • Purpose/ sector code: classifies the specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure, funded by a bilateral contribution.
  • Tied/Untied: Untied aid is defined as loans and grants whose proceeds are fully and freely available to finance procurement from all OECD countries and substantially all developing countries. Transactions are considered tied unless the donor has, at the time of the aid offer, clearly specified a range of countries eligible for procurement which meets the tests for “untied” aid.