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May 16, 2018-The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has extended the deadline to submit proposals to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed design of the Tamor Storage Hydro Project since there were very few takers.

Only four firms had submitted proposals as of May 11, the original closing date for the global tender. The deadline has been lengthened by two weeks, the state-owned power utility said.

NEA officials said the last date was extended after several potential applicants requested more time to prepare their bids. As the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) is likely to take more time to issue a survey licence to the NEA for the project with an increased installed capacity, there is no hurry to select a consultant to conduct the study, NEA officials said.

“We are yet to get a licence from the department to study the project with the increased installed capacity, so we are not in a rush to appoint a consultant,” said Prem Chandra Gupta, the project chief of the Tamor Storage Hydro Project planned to be built on the Tamor River in eastern Nepal.

The NEA is mulling to build the plant with an increased installed capacity of 762 MW, a big jump from its original design of 200 MW. The DoED has given the NEA the go-ahead to build the Tamor project with an installed capacity of 200 MW, but the utility wants to ramp up the project’s installed capacity to 762 MW if the study report shows it is technically and financially viable.

However, if the storage project is built with 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 has clearly asked the NEA to first get the consent of the two projects that face being submerged in order to qualify for the license.

Sources at the NEA said they were negotiating with the promoters of the two projects, and that the deal would be wrapped up soon.

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 Kathmandu Post

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