If the situation remains the same, Tanahu Hydropower Project will kick off its construction year from now. Funded by Asian Development Bank and JICA, the 140-MW semi-storage project is scheduled to complete by 2021.
ADB is helping Nepal develop a 140-megawatt hydropower plant to be located on the Seti River in Tanahu district. The project will build a medium-sized plant with water storage facilities and transmission system. It will also provide rural electrification and community development in the area, and a reform and restructuring plan for the national utility, the Nepal Electricity Authority.
Tanahu Hydropower Limited (THL) is a subsidiary company of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), which established the project in 2012 with a view to develop 140 MW . Formerly, it was Upper Seti (Damauli) Storage Hydroelectric Project. The Project site is situated 150 km west of Kathmandu on Seti River near Damauli of Tanahu District in Gandaki Zone. The project is a storage type plant capable of supplying peak power for minimum of 6 hours daily. The power will be evacuated through a 40 km long 220 kV double circuit transmission line to New Bharatpur sub-station.
Nepal and ADB signed the Technical Assistance Grant Agreement for Detailed Engineering Study for the project in 23 December 2010. However, it was delayed for a year because of disputes on selection of consultants.
“After the selection of the consultant last year, we have now two fold targets: one to come up with the Detailed Engineering Design and review the design. After this, we need to upgrade it and prepare pre-qualification document. Another key step is to finalize the tender documents and to go for tendering process. In between these two stages, we are also preparing for pre-construction phase. This means to upgrade the access road, construction of new roads -- we have already constructed a bridge,” said Sunil Kumar Dhungel, Managing Director of Tanahu Hydropower Ltd.
The THL has already issued a notice for land acquisition in reservoir areas and survey and property valuation. After this it will be sent to the Compensation Fixation Committee. This is one part. Apart from this, the survey of transmission line and its detailing works are also being carried out.
“We are also doing work for optimization of tunnel, detailing of power house, optimization of dam flood routine and redundancy study. We are also making effort to rock mechanical test for geological study. We are bringing German consultants for this. These are kinds of pre-construction activities. We have already published prequalification notice at the end of February,” said Dhungel.
The project includes three packages. The first package is dam which is funded by ADB, powerhouse, electrical mechanical and hydro mechanical component is funded by JICA and third components Transmission Line and substation is also funded by Asian Development Bank.
The project has also environment, community development, and gender and rehabilitation components. The project will spend almost 30 million dollars during the project time.
The duration of this project is tendering and pre-construction for one year, with six years of construction period and another five years of operation period. This is a twelve-year long phase. Soon after the selection of contractor, the second phase will begin. Third phase will be operational period. Along with NEA, consultants will also be there with the project.
“Despite certain problems, we have settled the process of selection of consultants. Now we are PQ stage. After the publication of PQ, the project is now finalized. There is no way other than to forward it now. We need the support, side by side, from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forest, Department of Electricity Development, NEA for license to clear the things under their jurisdiction,” said Dhungel.
“After prequalification, we need go for tender process which will take four months. Then there is the need to have another few more months for evaluation as the number of participation will increase. It will take at least a year to make contract agreement. We need to finalize the contract and we need to complete pre-construction activities. We need to build all the infrastructure within a year. This is what we are targeting at this moment,” said Dhungel.
Once all these activities are completed in a year, main contractors will start the work. As the THL is now working in pre-construction phase, it will complete all the works required for the contractor, including yard to deposit the construction materials and housing.
“We need to make sure that everything will be settled within the year. This is what we have planned. We have published a notice for this and it is a key milestone for the project. The notice of PQ document means the life of project has begun and the countdown for construction and generation period of 12 years commences. The project count day starts from PQ date -- 14th February 2016 was the guiding date for us. This schedule has already been set up. We have reached at a stage from where we cannot return. Our focus should be now on timely completion of the project.”
“We now need to work on a time-bound basis. If we get delayed by one day, consequences will be in all activities. We are waiting for signing the contract agreement as it will itself be a big event.
As Nepal is facing acute shortage of energy, timely completion of Tanahu Hydropower project will give a lease of life to Nepal. For this, there is the need of a strong support from all the stakeholders.