Monday, December 22, 2014

IFC, GMR Group partner for power projects to unlock hydro potential and promote growth

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group – has partnered with India’s GMR Group to develop the 900 MW Upper Karnali hydropower plant, and two transmission line projects in Nepal.
The projects will meet energy demands and create jobs in Nepal and the South Asia region.
The transmission projects will evacuate power from the Upper Karnali and 600 MW Upper Marsyangdi Hydropower projects in Nepal. IFC InfraVentures – a global infrastructure project development fund – is a co-developer of these projects. IFC will make investments for project development and help achieve financial closure for these projects, which have a total investment outlay of $1.7 billion. The Upper Karnali plant will create over 3,000 jobs and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions of nearly two million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.
According to the joint development agreement, 12 per cent of the power generated from the Upper Karnali project will be provided free of cost to Nepal.
"This is the very first project for which the Project Development Agreement (PDA) was executed by the Investment Board,” said chief executive officer of Investment Board of Nepal Radhesh Pant. "IFC's expertise in the international financial markets brings complementarity and synergy to GMR's strengths in regional infrastructure," he said, adding that IFC's involvement will help the project achieve timely financial closure, construction, and operational milestones.
"IFC’s financing and global expertise in the hydro sector will help the projects become a game changer for Nepal’s hydropower sector and will attract international investors,” said group chairman of GMR Group G M Rao. "The development of these projects complements the initiatives taken by India and Nepal to establish high-capacity cross-border transmission links to facilitate power trading between the two countries," he added.
Nepal has significant hydropower potential but less than one per cent of it is developed. Only an estimated 46 per cent of the population has access to electricity. Over the last decade, demand for power in Nepal has grown at nine  per cent annually, while supply has not kept pace.
“Hydropower is a powerful engine for economic growth in Nepal,” said IFC director for Asia Pacific Vivek Pathak. "These projects will boost a common energy market in South Asia, create sustainable employment, improve quality of life, and provide reliable and clean energy for local industry," he added.
Nepal is a priority country for IFC.
Since 2008, IFC has been working closely with Nepal's private sector through investments and advisory services. IFC has been working in developing infrastructure, tourism, financial markets, transportation, and trade finance in the country. In recent years, IFC has also been assisting the government to make doing business easier.

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