Friday, October 20, 2017

Government to hand over Tamakoshi-3 hydro project licence to TBI

The Energy Ministry is going to award project feasibility survey licence of Tamakoshi-3 Hydropower Project to TBI Holding.
The company has filed a feasibility survey licence application at the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) on October 11 for project that was earlier expected to generate the 650 MW. But the SN Power – a Norwegian energy developer – had left the project as it found the project not feasible to generate 650 MW and sell it to Indian market.
The department approved the application and forwarded it to the Energy Ministry for final approval, according to the department's spokesperson Babu Raj Adhikari.
"The documents presented by TBI Holding along with the application were complete," he said, adding that the department has forwarded the application to the ministry recommending that survey licence be awarded to the company.
TBI Holding – a company owned by newly elected president of the Non Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Bhaban Bhatta – will survey the Tamakoshi 3 within 2 years to finalise the generating capacity, return on investment and its feasibility.
The government has authorised the board to implement hydropower projects with installed capacity of 500MW or above. According to the Investment Board Act 2011, the board has sole authority to implement project of 500 MW and above.
The project was in the basket – after the SN Power walked out in 2016 – of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) as it was still expected to generate 650 MW, though there has been not any possibility of generating more than 305 MW due to current policy brought by the former energy minister Janardan Sharma.
Tamakoshi 3 – a run-of-the-river (RoR) project located in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts – is projected to cost Rs 130 billion, if it is developed as according to the SN Power's plan.
The board claimed that it was gearing up to launch international bidding to develop the hydropower as it has not revised the generation feasibility according to the new policy brought by energy minister Janardan Sharma. The new policy has many provisions that has forced the hydel project to downsize to almost half.
However, the board also claimed that it has prepared a modality for the construction of the project under the public private partnership (PPP) model with a mix of domestic and international investments after the potential developer Statkraft of Norway pulled out from the project in January 2016 before signing project development agreement (PDA).
"The board had forwarded the proposal to the ministry in April, seeking suggestions," according to higher official at the board, who claimed that it was waiting for the ministry’s response. 
SN Power – the Norwegian company – had spent Rs 1 billion to conduct a survey, obtain technical updates and perform environment impact assessment after receiving a survey licence from the government in March 2008.
Officials said it had abandoned the project over concerns about finding buyers for the electricity produced by the project. Statkraft had planned to sell energy in India but it lost hope after it could not get price it wanted from India and selling in the domestic market was also not feasible. 

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