India and Bhutan signed an agreement for development of joint hydropower projects in Thimphu in Bhutan in an bid to further strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership. The inter-governmental agreement provides framework for implementing four hydro-electric projects totaling 2,120 MW on a joint venture model between public sector undertakings of the two governments.
The four projects are 600MW Kholongchu project, 180MW Bunakha project (with 230 MW downstream benefits from Tala, Chukha and Wangchu HEPs), 570MW Wangchu project, and 770MW Chamkarchu project.
Three hydro-electric projects—Chukha project (336MW); Kurichu project (60MW); Tala project (1,020 MW)—totaling 1,416 MW, which are operational in Bhutan supplies electricity to India. While, three other HEPs—Punatsangchu-I project (1,200MW), Punatsangchu-II project (1,020- MW) and Mangdehchu project (720MW)—totaling 2,940 MW, which are under construction are scheduled to be commissioned by 2018.
Ongoing cooperation between India and Bhutan in the hydropower sector is covered under the 2006 agreement on cooperation in hydropower between the two countries and the protocol to the 2006 agreement signed in March, 2009 thereof. Under the protocol, GoI agreed to develop 10,000 MW of hydropower in Bhutan for export of surplus power to India by 2020.