PDA talks on Tamakoshi-III hydel project resume

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    logotype-statkraftKATHMANDU: The Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has resumed negotiations on Project Development Agreement (PDA) on 650-megawatt Tamakoshi-III hydroelectric project.

    “We met with officials of Statkraft International today to give continuity to PDA negotiations,” IBN CEO Radhesh Pant said, without elaborating.

    Although the IBN had initially started PDA negotiations with SN Power, a Norwegian company owned by Statkraft, Norway’s largest utility company, and Norfund, a state-owned Norwegian investment fund for private companies in developing countries, it is now holding talks with Statkraft after it was authorised to look over businesses in Nepal.

    “More meetings will be held with Statkraft officials in the coming days to conclude the negotiations within the deadline of April,” Pant said.

    A board meeting of IBN held last month had extended the tenure of Tamakoshi-III Project Negotiation Agreement (PNA) by six months and asked the management to conclude PDA negotiations within April.

    The IBN had signed the PNA with the project developer in April 2013 to provide security of tenure over the project because of the expiry of survey licence.

    The government, in March 2007, issued the project’s survey licence to SN Power.

    Since the tenure of survey licence cannot be extended by more than five years, Nepal and SN Power had signed the PNA with a validity of 18 months. During this period, the IBN and the project developer were supposed to conclude the PDA, but despite holding 13 rounds of negotiations, both the parties could not strike a deal.

    “We could not sign the PDA within the 18-month deadline, as some of the issues raised by the developer, such as market access for electricity generated by the project, could not be immediately addressed,” Ghanashyam Ojha, head of external affairs at the IBN, had previously told The Himalayan Times.

    But this is not going to be an issue anymore, as the country recently sealed a power trade pact with India, which allows project developers based here to export power in an unhindered manner to the markets in the south.

    During the upcoming rounds of negotiations, IBN is expected to raise issues of equity distribution, free energy to be extended to the government and other benefits to the country and locals.

    Tamakoshi-III is being built on Tamakoshi River in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts at a cost of around Rs 111.30 billion. The project, which is expected to affect Lamidada, Namdu, Bhimeshwor and Jugu villages, has potential to generate 2,350 gigawatt-hour of electricity per year.

    The power generated by the plant will be evacuated using an 81-km 400 kV transmission line to be developed to Dhalkebar. Like the 900MW Upper Karnali and 900MW Arun-III hydroelectric projects — PDAs of which were signed by the IBN in the last two-and-a-half months — Tamakoshi-III will also sell a bulk of its power to India.

    Source :  The Himalayan Times