May 1, 2018-The Energy Ministry has formed a committee to decide how to compensate the promoters of the Kabeli-A and Lower Hewa hydro projects which will be inundated by another larger plant that the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) plans to build on the same river.
The panel was established during a tripartite meeting held between the ministry, power utility and project developers a few weeks ago. It includes NEA officials and representatives from the two projects.
“We have held a few rounds of talks, and we will soon sign an understanding with the private developers,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director of the NEA. “We have also forwarded a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to both the companies. We will sign it as soon as the boards of directors of the two companies approve it.”
The state-owned power utility has been mulling to build the Tamor Hydropower Project with an increased installed capacity of 762 MW, a big jump from its original design of 200 MW.
The project is located in eastern Nepal. If built at the increased capacity, it will inundate the 37.5 MW Kabeli-A and 21.5 MW Lower Hewa projects currently being developed on the Tamor River, and the NEA will have to compensate their owners to abandon them.
The Department of Electricity Development has given the NEA the go-ahead to build the Tamor project with an installed capacity of 200 MW. Now, the NEA is seeking a survey license from the department at the increased capacity. The department has asked the NEA to first get the consent of the two projects that face being submerged.
As the NEA has already called global tenders to appoint a consultant to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the project at the installed capacity, it needs to convince the private developers soon. It has even secured funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the study. Ghising said the NEA would wrap up the deal with the developers within a month.
In 1985, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) had proposed building a 696 MW hydroelectric project on the Tamor River by building a 153-metre-high dam. However, the government did not show much interest in the proposal at that time.
The NEA management is now very keen on developing the project with the increased installed capacity. It believes that upgrading the Tamor project by paying compensation to the smaller schemes is a better option. If the plan materialises, the country’s energy production will see a massive jump, helping it to become self-sufficient in electricity generation and a net exporter.
Source: The Kathamandu Post