Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower project delayed yet again


    Nov 1, 2018-

    The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project has extended its completion deadline by six months as it will not be able to switch on one of its six turbines by December 2018 and complete the entire plant by April 2019 as planned.

    As per the new deadline, the 456 MW hydropower plant will start commercial generation of electricity by mid-November 2019. This is the third time the project office has pushed back the completion date.

    Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Company, a subsidiary of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) which is developing the peaking run-of-the-river project, said the completion deadline was extended as there was a delay in the completion of the hydro-mechanical component of the power plant.

    As per the revised schedule, the project will start filling the tunnel with water in July and conduct various tests which will take more than three months, according to Bigyan Raj Shrestha, NEA-appointed project chief of Upper Tamakoshi. “We will be able to complete the construction and required tests and start commercial generation by mid-November 2019,” said Shrestha.

    The project office has cited earthquakes, the Indian trade blockade and various technical issues including dillydallying by one of the contractors as reasons for the delay in the national pride project where 95 percent of the construction works have been completed. Upper Tamakoshi is touted as the strategic project to end the country’s perennial power crisis. The project was rescheduled after Texamo, the Indian contractor hired to execute the hydro-mechanical works, has been working slow. The Indian company is yet to start installing the penstock pipes at the power plant. The penstock pipes deliver water from the dam into the turbines in the powerhouse to generate electricity. The national pride project was originally scheduled to be completed in mid-July 2016, but the 2015 earthquake hit the project very hard. The access road leading to the project site was totally destroyed when the project had completed 79 percent of the civil works.

    Due to the delay, the project has faced cost overruns. The project was initially planned to be built at a cost of Rs 35 billion, but the final bill is now expected to reach Rs50 billion. The total cost will reach Rs70 billion if interest is added. Nevertheless, the project is considered to be a role model project which is being developed with domestic resources and a high level of participation by project-affected locals and the general public.

    After the Upper Tamakoshi roars into life, Nepal is projected to have surplus energy at least during the wet season and the NEA will be in a position to export electricity to neighbouring India. During the wet season, surplus energy can be transmitted over the Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line to the Dhalkebar substation and on to the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line for export to India.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post