Kathmandu: In a significant development, Sahas Urja has successfully acquired the license for the 341 MW Budhigandaki hydropower project, sealing a Rs 2 billion agreement with Times Energy.
The entire license purchase and sale process, conducted under the banner of Times Energy Pvt. Ltd., is on track for completion within the current week. Insider sources reveal that a Share Purchase and Sale Agreement (SPA) between Sahas and Times will be formally signed in the coming days, with an estimated project cost of 65 billion rupees.
Times Energy, a company within the IMS Group presided over by businessman Deepak Malhotra, is taking a pivotal role in this strategic move.
Sahas Urja, known for its successful operation of the 86 MW Solukhola (Dudhkosi) project, has emerged as a key player in private sector hydropower projects. Solukhola, operational since February 2023, holds the distinction of being the largest privately funded hydropower project.
Following the triumphant commissioning of Solukhola, Sahas Urja, under the leadership of President Him Pathak, actively sought to expand its portfolio with a project of up to 500 MW. The collaboration with Times Energy has paved the way for the acquisition of the Budhigandaki hydropower project license, with Sahas Urja committing substantial investment towards its construction.
Originally proposed as a cooperative model, the 86 MW Solukhola project faced challenges in attracting investors, but new stakeholders, including Sushil Thapa, stepped in to ensure its success. The feasibility study for the Budhigandaki hydropower project is now complete, revealing its Peaking Run of the River (PROR) nature.
Situated in Dharche-1 and 3 and Chumanubri-3 in Gorkha, the project’s dam site and reservoir are located in Chumanubri Rural Municipality, just at the southern tip of the Manaslu Conservation Area. Importantly, all remaining structures fall outside the Manaslu Conservation Area.
With a design discharge of 100.27 cubic meters per second, the project features a 2 km long reservoir, storing an impressive 1760 thousand cubic meters of water. The proposed 6.5 km long tunnel, starting from Phagat village and ending at Vinchet village, is a key component of the project plan. An underground powerhouse is slated for construction on the left bank of the Budhigandaki river near Tatopani village, equipped with 6 Pelton turbines boasting a cumulative capacity of 60.43 MW and an internal rate of return of 13.81 percent.
The investment payback period is anticipated to be 5.54 years after the commencement of commercial production. The study suggests that commercial production can be achieved within 5 years of the construction phase.
The project’s total head stands at an impressive 398 meters, aiming to generate 1837.16 gigawatt hours of electricity annually. A transmission line, spanning about 45 km, will connect the generated energy to the Ratmate substation, with commercial production targeted to commence in March 2029.