The Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) has awarded the survey licence for the country’s largest hydropower project to Vidhyut Utpadan Company. The state-owned enterprise received the permit following an energy secretary-level decision based on the recommendation of the Department of Electricity Development (DoED).
Vidhyut Utpadan Company will conduct the survey for the Mugu Karnali Hydropower Project located in northwestern Nepal which, at 1,902 MW, is the largest plant surpassing the previous record holder, the 1,200 MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project in central Nepal.
According to The Kathmandu Post, the MoEWRI has returned the application file to the department which said it would be sending the official licence to the company in a couple of days. “The decision has been made by the ministry. We will send the official letter to the company within a couple of days,” said Mana Devi Shrestha, chief of the licence department at the DoED. Vidhyut Utpadan Company applied for a permit at the department on April 15. The DoED, after reviewing the application, forwarded it to the ministry with its recommendation that the company be given the licence.
Vidhyut Utpadan Company will have two years to complete the survey of the project. The reservoir project located on the Karnali River extends across Mugu, Bajura and Humla districts. The company said it would reveal its plan to take the project forward after getting the official letter from the department.
The company has received survey licences for three hydropower projects since its incorporation in October 2016: Kimathanka Arun (450 MW), Phukot Karnali (426 MW) and Jagdulla Hydro (307 MW). Likewise, the government awarded the 410 MW storage-type Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project to the company by dissolving the development committee formed to build it.
The MoEWRI is planning to award around 19 projects in the government’s basket to Vidhyut Utpadan Company and has informed the DoED about its intention. The company plans to gradually identify potential projects and apply for a licence at the department.
Vidhyut Utpadan Company was established under the Company Act 2006. The company will issue 17 percent of its shares to the general public. The MoEWRI and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) hold 20 and 10 percent of the stock respectively. Likewise, the Finance and Law ministries each own 5 percent of the shares while the Employees’ Provident Fund and Nepal Telecom have a 10 percent stake each.
The Citizen Investment Trust, Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company and Rastriya Beema Sansthan own 5, 4 and 2 percent of the shares respectively. The company will offer 10 percent of the shares to locals affected by its hydropower projects, and 2 percent will be allotted to the extremely poor. The company has a paid-up capital of Rs300 million and an authorised capital of Rs20 billion.