Upper Marshyangdi 'A' and Upper Madi projects are in the last leg of development
KATHMANDU, July 23: Two hydropower projects with combined installed capacity of 75 MW, promoted by two Chinese state-owned companies, are preparing to start generation in the coming few months.
Upper Marshyangdi 'A', having capacity of 50 MW, is preparing to start generation from the first week of September. It will supply 317 GWh to the national grid. It will be the largest project in the Marshyangdi River basin after the Madhya Marshyangdi (70 MW) project, which started generation eight years ago.
The Rs 16-billion project is being developed by Sinohydro-Sagarmatha Power Company (SSPC) Pvt Ltd. Sino Hydro Resources Ltd, a Chinese government-owned company, owns 90 percent stake in the company, while local firm Sagarmatha Power Company owns remaining stakes.
Sagarmatha Power Company is promoted by Manakamana Darshan Pvt Ltd.
“We are readying transmission line to evacuate power generated by the project. After completing testing and commissioning process, we will be ready for generation by the first week of September," Sishu Pal Chhetri, deputy manager of Contract Department at SSPC, told Republica.
Similarly, Upper Madi Hydropower Project (25 MW), which is being developed by China International Water & Electric Co (CWE), is preparing to start generation by the end of this year.
The estimated cost of the project, based in Kaski district, is around Rs 6.6 billion.
CWE is a subsidiary company of China Three Gorges Corporation which developed the mega Three Gorges Hydroelectric Project (21,000 MW) in China. CWE holds 80 percent stake in the company, while Nepali investor Bijaya Bahadur Malla owns the remaining 20 percent.
“Around 97 percent of the project work has been completed. We are giving finishing touches to the project as well as building transmission line to evacuate power generated by the project,” Malla told Republica.
Indians and Chinese investors are competing to invest in hydropower projects in Nepal. Completion of these two projects, however, will prove that Chinese investors have more practical approach in project development compared to the Indian investors.
The government invited foreign investment in hydropower sector by adopting liberal policy in 1990s. Not a single project promoted by Indian investors has come into operation so far.
Trishuli Hydropower Project (24 MW) and Devighat Hydropower Project (14.1 MW) were developed under Indian grants in 1967 and 1984, respectively. Apart from these projects, investment commitment in hydropower sector by India has not materialized.
“Chinese investors are focusing on doable projects unlike Indian investors who are only focused on mega projects eyeing the Indian market,” Kumar Pandey, general secretary of Independent Power Producers' Association of Nepal, told Republica. "Chinese companies, who came as contractors to provide engineering services in other government-owned projects, have now become promoters, while Indians seem to be waiting for infrastructure to transmit energy across the border.”
Government officials have also realized this fact.
Gokarna Raj Panth, assistant spokesperson of Ministry of Energy, said: "Chinese investors have given outputs, albeit through small projects. But Indian developers and promoters spend a lot of time for study,” he added.
Two projects -- Arun III and Upper Karnali - promoted by Indian investors are in study phase for the past eight years. Progress in these projects is negligible. Rahughat Hydropower Project, which is being financed by Indian line of credit, has already been delayed by six years.