With no template, Upper Trishuli-I PDA talks stall

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    Power development agreementsKATHMANDU, April 6: The government has not been able to sit for project development agreement (PDA) negotiations — a crucial part of a project development process — with the developer of 216 megawatt Upper Trishuli-I, as it lacks a proper PDA template, the baseline for such negotiations.

    The Ministry of Energy (MoE), the entity that is supposed to hold PDA negotiations with hydropower project developers (below 500 MW capacity) has said it could not sit for PDA talks with the developer of Upper Trishuli-I as it didn´t receive the PDA template from Nepal Investment Board (NIB) on time.

    “We have not received a proper PDA template from NIB so far,” an official at MoE said, preferring anonymity, as he was not authorized to talk to media. “We have received one template from NIB but it is exactly the same thing that we had forwarded to them after NIB came into existence one and half years ago.”

    Nepal Water and Energy Development Company Private Limited (NWEDC), the developer of the project, has already paid US$ 324,000 as processing fee for PDA negotiations. “We are waiting for PDA negotiations to happen in the near future,” a top official from the company told Republica on Thursday.

    “We will sit for PDA talks with NWEDC as soon as we receive a complete PDA template from NIB,” the official from the ministry said, adding that MoE should use a PDA template developed by NIB as the government has decided to apply a uniform template for all hydropower projects.

    NIB had said it was developing the PDA template with technical and legal support from Herbert Smith, a legal advisory firm based in London.

    However, Radesh Pant, chief executive officer of NIB, has denied what MoE officials said. “We sent them the PDA template approved by the NIB board of directors,” Pant said in reply to a question from Republica on Thursday evening.

    The company, which is 50 percent owned by Korea South-East Power Company (KOSEP), has been seeking early PDA talks as it targets to initiate construction of the project within 2013.

    According to company officials, the company has already completed the detailed project report and received approval from the government for its environmental impact assessment report.

    Apart from KOSEP, 15 percent shares of the company are currently owned by Daelim, 10 percent by Kyeryong Construction and the remaining 25 percent by Bikesh Pradhanang.

    Meanwhile, a source close to the company disclosed that the International Finance Company, one of the World Bank group, has bought 15 percent of the shares from Pradhanang. “But 15 shares from Pradhanang have not been transferred to IFC so far,” the source added.

    Source : Republica