Govt holds 210 hydropower projects

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    The government itself has held 210 projects with combined installed capacity of 9046 MW at a time when the country is suffering acute energy crisis. The Energy Ministry has reserved these projects with installed capacity of 1-1110 MW in the government basket.

    The government has neither invested on these projects itself nor has it issued generation license to domestic and foreign investors with financial and technical capacity. The ministry is uncertain about whether or how to develop these projects itself or to award them to domestic and foreign promoters with financial and technical capacity. The ministry has also kept a few projects, whose licenses were revoked as work could not be done as per the conditions, in the basket. Preliminary study has been done in all these projects, and many of them can be moved forward by updating the detailed project report (DPR).

    The private sector complains that the ministry has not showed any interest even while applying for license. Chairman of National Hydropower Company Limited Kumar Pandey said the company had reapplied for license for Sunkoshi Project, whose license was recently revoked, but could not get one. “They say they will give after formulating working procedure. But we don’t know when it will be formulated and when we will get the license,” he added.

    The government has also revoked license of Jindal Power Company of India for 456 MW Chainpur Seti stating that it did not comply with the Electricity Act, that of Brass Power of Brazil for 400 MW Lower Arun and 164 MW Kali Gandaki Gorge Project and kept it in the basket. Survey license has validity of five years as per the act.

    Director General at the Department of Electricity Development Samir Ratna Bajracharya concedes that work of many projects kept in the government basket has not moved forward. “Big reservoir based projects kept in the basket have to be developed with bilateral cooperation. We have been holding discussions with different donor agencies for that,” he added. He stated that the recent action plan brought by the government for electricity development decade has also made the issue of moving the reservoir based projects forward clear. “We have been preparing standards for bidding for projects of up to 100 MW. We will select five projects and invite bids in the first stage,” he revealed.

    He said that internal discussions are being held about the basis and process to award license. “License will be given to the bidders that offer free electricity, free shares, cheap electricity and more advance payment,” he stated.

    Government institutions also do not get license

    The government-owned Hydropower Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL) established to invest on hydropower sector has asked for survey license for two projects with installed capacity of 125 MW. But the ministry has not issued a license even 13 months after the application. It had applied for license to survey 71.5 MW Ghunsha Khola and 53.4 MW Simbuwa Khola in April, 2014 to invest remittance money in hydropower.

    HIDCL officials claim that the department did not show interest despite repeated reminders. The government’s plan of using remittance income in hydropower sector has been affected due to that. The HIDCL has already formed Remit Hydro Limited to develop the two projects.

    Big Projects in Government Basket

     

    Sno Project Capacity (MW)
    1 Bheri I 440
    2 Bheri 243
    3 Budhi Gandaki 243
    4 Chainpur Seti 454
    5 Bajhang Upper Seti 80
    6 Ghunsha Khola 78
    7 Humla Karnali 274
    8 Humla Karnali Cascade 916
    9 Kali Gandaki Gorge 164
    10 Karnali 7 330
    11 Lower Arun 400
    12 Mugu Karnali 400
    13 Nalam Karnali 300
    14 Fulkot Karnali 210
    15 Sunkoshi II 1110
    16 Sunkoshi III 536
    17 Tamakoshi I 100
    18 Tamor Mewa 101
    19 Thuli Bheri 110
    Total 6489

    Source : karobar daily