Coinciding with the celebration of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of formal diplomatic relation between Bhutan and India, the Chumey Mini Hydel Plant in Bumthang was re-commissioned on May 2, 2018. The plant was inaugurated by HRH Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
The Chumey Mini Hydropower Plant was first commissioned on 14th December 1989 by His Excellency Shri Vinod C. Khanna, Ambassador of India to Bhutan (1989-1991). The hydropower plant catered to the electricity requirement of Bumthang and Trongsa Dzongkhag before the Grid Connection reached the region.
The plant had installed capacity of 1500 kW (3 machines with machine capacity of 500 kW each). The plant was constructed by Central Water Commission (CWC), India, funded by GoI.
The plant was running effectively till 2013. The machines started to breakdown frequently from 2013 onwards due to aging. The plan to rehabilitate and upgrade the power plant was then initiated.
On 23rd December 2016, the work to rehabilitate and upgrade Chumey mini hydropower plant was contracted through bidding to Erhard Automation, Austria at USD 2.431 million. The project was funded by BPC and the project period was 24 months. The project was completed in February 2018 as scheduled. The capacity of the power plant has been upgraded from 1500 kW to 1737 kW.
Besides being a renewable energy source, the rehabilitated hydropower plant will improve the energy reliability of the communities around the powerhouse. The energy system in the area will be more resilient to future unforeseen circumstances, such as major interruption in the supply of power from large hydropower plant.