SINDHUPALCHOWK, Sept 11: The reconstruction of Bhote Koshi hydropower project has reached the last phase. Eighty percent of the reconstruction work has already been completed, and the project is preparing to go for commercial production from November.
“The initial testing of the project under reconstruction is going on,” said Bikram Ratna Sthapit, managing director of Bhote Koshi Power Company. “The reconstruction work is moving with a good pace,” said Sthapit.
He said that the first unit of the 22.5 MW project will go to commercial production from November first week. Two weeks after that, the second unit will also start production.
The hydropower plant was damaged due to flood on Bhote Koshi River in July 2016. The project was being reconstructed from the last one and half years. Chinese company Sino Hydro’s Bureau 11 is the contractor for the plant. According to Sthapit, it will take approximately Rs 7 billion for the reconstruction works.
“This amount is almost equal to constructing a new project,” he said. As there was much damage, the cost has increased, he added.
Reconstruction of the dam and 3.3-km-long tunnel cleaning has been completed. Similarly, the work of penstock pipe and generator repair is on the last phase. The two transformers have been changed and the work of headworks and electronics is going on.
The flood had destroyed the dam, headworks and electro mechanical structure of the hydropower plant.
Before the flood, the hydropower plant had suffered big damages in the earthquake of April 25, 2015. The damages amounted to an estimated Rs 3 billion.
Reconstruction work of the quake-damaged generator was going on when the flood hit the area. Due to damages from the repeated disasters, the company’s costs increased by 60%. Prior to the reconstruction, the initial cost of the project was Rs 10 billion.
Previously, the work on transmission line was paused for six months due to landslide at Jure in August 2014. Four months after it resumed, the plant was destroyed in the earthquake.
After the earthquake, production stopped. Earlier, the project used to earn profits amounting to US $22-24 million every year.
The project situated in Tatopani and Phulping Katti areas of Bhote Koshi Rural Municipality used to produce 36 MW of electricity for 10 years. The capacity of the project was expanded to 45 MW following a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in 2011. The electricity produced from the project was enough for five districts equal to the size of Sindhupalchowk.
As the river’s flow will be less in November, production will be lower than the capacity for some time after the project restarts production, according to Sthapit.