TANAHU HYDROPOWER PROEJCT: A Significant Achievement

The Tanahu Hydropower Project, with a capacity of 140 MW, has achieved a major milestone with the completion of the headrace tunnel.

April 15, 2024, 11:35 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 17, April.12,2024 (Chaitra,30. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

The Tanahu Hydropower Project, with the strong support and guidance of Kul Man Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority, and the dedicated efforts of Kiran Kumar Shrestha, Managing Director of Tanahun Hydropower Ltd, is making significant progress. The construction of the coffer dam is advancing well, and preparations are underway to begin the construction of the dam. Additionally, the recent breakthrough of the Headrace Tunnel is a noteworthy achievement.

Despite facing delays caused by various factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, contract terminations, and retender awards, the project has encountered several obstacles over the past eight years. However, considering the current pace of progress, it appears that the project is likely to be completed according to the ongoing schedule.

The under-construction 140-megawatt Tanahun Hydroelectricity Project recently witnessed a breakthrough in its headrace tunnel. This reservoir-based project harnesses the water from the Seti River, which flows along the border of Rhishing Rural Municipality and Byas Municipality-5 in Tanahun.

To activate the tunnel, Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation Secretary Gopal Prasad Sigdel and Kul Man Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority and Chairman of Tanahun Hydropower Ltd, jointly initiated the switch.

The tunnel, which is part of Package 2 of the project, spans a length of 1,493 meters from its intake point. It has a diameter of 7.4 meters and will be lined with concrete. The water will flow through the tunnel and be collected in an underground powerhouse via a 213-meter penstock.


During the ceremony commemorating the breakthrough of the tunnel, Sigdel, the Secretary of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, expressed his contentment with the advancement of the reservoir project, which has been under construction for a considerable period of time. Sigdel urged all parties involved to ensure the timely completion of the main dam construction.

Drawing from the knowledge gained from reservoir projects like Kulekhani, there is now a sense of direction and confidence in developing similar projects such as Dudhkoshi, Nalgarh, and Budhigandaki. Ghising, the Managing Director of the NEA, stressed the significance of completing the project on schedule and called upon all stakeholders to take responsibility.

He acknowledged that significant milestones have already been achieved in the project, including diverting the river for the main dam construction and successfully breaking through the main tunnel. To ensure the project's timely completion, the responsibility of expediting the dam construction lies with the project management, consultants, and construction professionals.

In addition, an announcement was made regarding the initiation of the Lower Seti Hydroelectric Project, which will harness the power of the Madi River to generate 126 MW of electricity. Kiran Kumar Shrestha, the Managing Director of Tanahun Hydropower Ltd, the project's promoter, and Mr. Shyamji Bhandari, the Acting Project Manager, provided the audience with an update on the project's progress and the challenges faced.

The construction of the project is divided into three packages, and the overall physical progress currently stands at 54 percent. The entire project is expected to be completed by May 2026. Package-1 involves the excavation of the main dam's foundations and the construction of a temporary cofferdam to divert the river during the dam construction.


This phase is progressing well, with the aim of completing the foundation excavation by the second week of June and commencing the construction of the main dam's foundation in July. The physical progress for Package 1 is currently at 29 percent. The construction of the 140-meter-high dam under Package-1 is being carried out by Song Da Corporation, Vietnam-Kalika Construction Ltd JV.

Sino Hydro Corporation, China is currently engaged in the implementation of Package-2, which involves the construction of the project tunnel, powerhouse, as well as the supply, installation, and operation of hydromechanical and electromechanical equipment. Following the completion of the underground power plant excavation, work is now underway on the construction of the concrete switchyard, installation of penstocks, and equipment within the power plant. The tailrace construction has already been finished, with the overall physical progress of this package standing at approximately 55 percent.

Meanwhile, under Package-3, KEC International from India is responsible for constructing a 34.7 km 220 kV double circuit transmission line from Damauli to Bharatpur in Chitwan. KEC International Limited, India is overseeing this project. Out of the 94 towers along the transmission line, the foundations for 76 towers have been laid, and 62 towers have already been erected. The overall construction progress for this package is currently at 72 percent.

Furthermore, as part of the project's social development program, the Tanahu Rural Electrification and Distribution System Strengthening Project have been successfully completed by the Project Management Directorate of Nepal Electricity Authority for the electrification of Tanahun District.

Under this project, two substations of 33-11 kV were constructed and commissioned in Ghiring Rural Municipality-4 and Bandipur Rural Municipality-6 for local power supply.

A 33 kV line has been constructed to supply electricity to the mentioned substations. To ensure that Tanahun district receives sufficient, reliable, and high-quality power supply, distribution transformers of different capacities were installed at various locations and 11 kV lines were built.

Under the community development program, a total of 56 projects, including education, health, drinking water, road construction, river embankment construction, and more, have been successfully completed in the project areas. Currently, there are seven ongoing projects.


Numerous skill-based trainings have been organized to enhance the livelihood and income of the individuals affected by the project.

The overall estimated cost of the project amounts to $505 million, which has been funded by various sources. These sources include $150 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), $184 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), $85 million from the European Investment Bank, and $86 million from the Nepalese government/NEA.

Upon the completion of the project, the 140 MW Tanahu Hydropower Project, which is a storage type project following Kulekhani, will significantly contribute to Nepal's energy security.

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