The Ministry of Energy has decided to award the survey licences for two run-of-the-river hydropower projects to Remit Hydro Limited (RHL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL).

    The two proposed power schemes, 71.5 MW Ghunsa Khola and 53.7 MW Sinbuwa Khola, are located in Taplejung district in eastern Nepal.
    The ministry had agreed to issue the survey licences to RHL as per the recommendation of the Department of Electricity Development (DoED). Energy Secretary Suman Sharma said the ministry had already written to the DoED directing it to award the licences to RHL.
    CEO of HIDCL Deepak Rauniyar said they had paid the licence fee to the DoED. “We are in the final stages of getting the licences from the DoED,” said Rauniyar.
    A feasibility study for the Ghunsa Khola project has been completed. According to RHL, it will start preparing a detailed project report (DPR) after receiving the formal approval from the ministry.
    The combined estimated cost of the two projects is Rs19 billion. The company has said that the money will be raised domestically. RHL has decided to finance 70 percent of the cost through loans and the rest through equity financing.
    HIDCL plans to hold a 51 percent stake in each project, according to Rauniyar. Similarly, 24 percent of the shares will be sold to migrant workers, 10 percent to locals and the remaining 15 percent will be sold to the public through an initial public offering.
    “We have tried to develop a new model of hydropower development by involving migrant workers in financing the projects as shareholders,” said Rauniyar.
    With the objective to promoting gender inclusion and empowering women, 50 percent of the shares to be issued to locals and in the IPO will be reserved for women.
    RHL has planned a scheme under which migrant workers can buy shares on installment basis in a bid to ensure their participation in the investment.
    RHL was established with the objective of tapping the enormous remittance inflows into Nepal. It aims to develop midsized hydropower projects in Nepal, primarily by utilizing remittance as a source of financing and giving migrant workers an opportunity to get involved in national development.
    The company has so far funded eight hydropower projects and a cross-border transmission line project.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post