ESIA sought for integrated Gongri-Jeri project in Bhutan

Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Bhutan’s state-controlled hydropower plant operator and developer, invites expressions of interest by 22 March from qualified international consulting firms to carry out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Integrated Gongri hydropower project and Jerichhu (Jeri) pumped-storage project in eastern Bhutan.

The successful consultant shall ensure that the ESIA is bankable and according to international standards and best practices (Asian Development Bank and the World Bank), and in keeping with the Bhutanese Guidelines for Development of Hydropower Projects 2018, according to a procurement notice published on 20 February. The ESIA is to be carried out as part of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for which EOIs were invited last July. DGPC intends to use internal funds to finance the contract.

The ESIA, which should be completed within 15 months, should cover economic, social and environmental aspects, identify both the positive and negative impacts, assessment of impacts with its economic evaluation and prepare Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to mitigate the adverse effects, including the socio-economic aspects and Resettlement & Rehabilitation (R&R) Plan for project affected people and Environmental Flow (E-flow) Assessment, among others.

The projects are planned in the Drangmechhu river basin, the biggest river system in Bhutan. The Gongri run-of-the-river project with pondage is planned on the Gongri river, one of the basin’s two major rivers, on the boundary of the Trashigang and Mongar dzongkhags (districts), four km downstream of the confluence of the Gongri and Sherichhu rivers. The main project components include a concrete gravity dam with a maximum height above deepest foundation of 177 m, which would impound a reservoir with a gross storage of 427 x106 m3 and a live storage capacity of 351 x 106 m3, and a powerhouse located at around 900 m downstream of the planned dam. A pre-feasibility study of Gongri, carried out in-house by the DoE and submitted in February 2022, assessed the project to be techno-economically viable considering its geology and the potential for its integrated development as a pumped-storage facility, with its reservoir to be utilized as a lower reservoir for the proposed pumped-storage project. Gongri HPP is planned with an installed power capacity of 740 MW and annual design output of 2721 GWh. The Jeri pumped-storage facility, which would be the country’s first, is planned in Trashigang Dzongkhag on the river Jeri, which is the left bank tributary of Gongri.  A reconnaissance study, which was conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Power System Master Plan 2040 found the project to be technically viable. The open-loop pumped-storage project, with a maximum output of 1800 MW, is designed with inflow connected to the upper reservoir and a tailrace tunnel connected to the lower dam, which would be part of the Gongri hydropower project. The upper dam will be a concrete gravity type with an approximate height of 87 m from the deepest foundation level. The Jeri project envisages an underground powerhouse with four reversible Francis type pump-turbines with unit output of 450 MW each, operating at a net head of 635 m and total design discharge of 338 m³/s.

To qualify, environmental and social assessment should be the core business of applicants. Bidders should have at least 15 years of experience in conducting ESIAs and should have successfully completed at least three contracts of similar nature, scope, size and complexity outside their home country and in at least two continents within the last 10 years, and have carried out terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity assessment, and environmental flow assessment in at least one project.

The EOI must be delivered in a written form to the address below (in person, by mail or e-mail) on 22 March 2024 by 15.00 hours local time. For email submission, all documents shall be in PDF format. The EOI Documents, comprising Instruction to Bidders, EOI Evaluation/Shortlisting Criteria, Bidding Forms and Terms of Reference, shall be available for download from DGPC’s website: until 21 March. For further information, contact: Darjay Wangdi, Head, Contracts Management and Procurement Division, Projects Department, Druk Green Power Corporation Limited, Post Box No. 1351, Motithang, Thimphu, Bhutan; Tel.: +975 2 339875; E-mail: