India hands over Brunel Medal to Bhutan’s hydroelectric project
The Brunel Medal is historically won by projects and organisations from across the world
India on Thursday handed over Brunel Medal, the top UK engineers’ body award to Bhutan’s Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority.
“Today, as part of India@75 celebrations, Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj handed over the prestigious Brunel Medal to Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Chairman, Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority,” said a statement from the Indian embassy in Bhutan.
“I think it has been received with a great deal of joy,” said Ambassador Kamboj.
“It’s an engineering marvel as I see it and a wonderful example of a win-win partnership between any two countries, and certainly in this context between India and Bhutan,” she noted.
The Brunel Medal is an award given by the Londo –based Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to recognize excellence in civil engineering and valuable service or achievement, which has been rendered to or within the civil engineering industry.
The 2020 edition of the award went to the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project – a collaboration between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan.
It may be recalled that the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Project was inaugurated during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bhutan in August 2019.
The project's swift timeframe and low per megawatt (MW) cost led authorities to describe it as a “benchmark project” in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation area, while the ICE awards panel were also impressed by its social and environmental credentials.
From a strong field of entries, the green credentials of this mega project stood out. Conceived and delivered as a joint deal between India and Bhutan, this project will produce 720MW of clean electricity for millions and provide an additional 44% of electrical power generation on hydro generation capacity of Bhutan.
Since its commissioning till June 30, 2021, Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Project has generated and billed 5047 million units of electricity, which has helped the project earn Nu./ Rs. 21,932.2 million.
The commissioning of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Project in 2019 took Bhutan’s electricity generation capacity to 2,326 MW.
In 2020, Bhutan’s hydropower generation increased by 31%, which helped Thimphu offset the COVID - 19 induced slowdown. 500 new jobs were created as a result, primarily in Bhutan, and it facilitated improved commercial opportunities for local firms. In addition, schools and health facilities benefited from upgraded infrastructures such as drinking water facilities and irrigation channels.
Bhutan and India share a stellar hydropower cooperation which started from the construction of Chukha Hydroelectric Power Project and is now spread over seven hydropower projects completed and under construction.
The clean and green development of the hydro sector has become one of the key pillars of a unique relationship based on the bonds of trust and mutual understanding.