West Seti Hydro Project – IBN says progress being made, albeit slow

west_setiKATHMANDU, FEB 16 – Amid concerns about the delay in the development of  750MW West Seti Hydropower Project from, the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) has said progress is being made, albeit slow.

It has been more than two and half years since the IBN and CWE Investment Company, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the project. But no headway has been made since then.

IBN Chief Executive Officer Radhes Pant said the Chinese developer informed its board decided to set up a joint-venture company in Nepal to construct the project. “They will soon conduct a research on the project,” he said.

In December, an expert team from Shanghai Investigation, Design & Research Institute (Sidri), an affiliate of China Three Gorges Corporation, had conducted a technical investigation of the project. The group had inspected hydrological station of the Seti River and proposed sites for the main engineering facilities like preliminary powerhouse, intake and dam.

However, the delay in project development, has been a matter of concern. Energy Ministry officials have expressed doubt over the intention of the Chinese company, while the IBN has said the progress is being made. Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshetri has been publicly saying the Chinese company would not develop the project.

Another issue the developer has raised is the market and transmission line which Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) should assure, according to officials.

Unlike projects like 900MW Upper Karnali and Arun III, West Seti is being developed for domestic consumption. The NEA, only power purchaser, should assure the market, but it has so far failed to do so.

However, Pant said the NEA is positive on evacuating energy from the West Seti given the PTA with India has already been signed.

Source : eKantipur