High level team from China to visit Nepal for West Seti Project

KATHMANDU, Aug. 26 — A high level team from China is coming to the Himalayan country in the end this month to discuss on the construction of much talked about West Seti Hydel Project, Nepali officials said on Tuesday.

CWE Investment, a subsidiary of the China Three Gorges Corporation, one of China’s and also the world’s largest hydropower developers, is developing the 750 MW West Seti Hydro Project in power-hungry Nepal.

Earlier, over the last weekend, Lu Chan, vice president of CWE Investment had sent a letter to Investment Board of Nepal (IBN), the agency mandated with facilitating development of hydropower projects of more than 500 MW.

“In the letter, Dr. Chan had said that a team from CWE Investment will come here on Aug. 31 to discuss on initiating the West Seti Project which is very much crucial for Nepal to curb the existing power crisis, at the earliest,” chief executive officer of IBN, Radhesh Pant told Xinhua by phone.

Even though Chinese investors are constructing more than half dozens of hydro projects in Nepal, the construction of West Seti will be the largest venture initiated by any foreign investors in energy sector.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed by the Nepal government and CWE Investment in August, 2012, the 1.6 billion U.S. dollars worth project would be completed by 2019.

However, due to the several factors and a lack of communication, the construction of the ambitious project has not been initiated so far.
“After a change in the board of CWE Investment, the dialogues between Nepal and the developer had not been held since so long,” said Pant, adding that “the letter from the company has given us hope that the company is really committed to undertake the project. ”

Pant also said that in his letter, vice president Chan has also proposed to form a joint company having representatives both from Nepal and China to begin foundational works for the construction of the project.
The Exim Bank of China has already agreed to offer soft and commercial loans worth 1.6 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of the project.

The agreement between the IBN and CWE has ensured 10 percent equity to the local population in the Nepal’s far west where the project will be located, allocation of 150 MW of electricity from the project to the region and multi-purpose benefits from the project to the maximum extent economically possible.

The government of Nepal has enlisted West Seti as a top priority and national pride project.

Source : Xinhua