Austria commits to invest in 735 MW Hydroelectric projects in Nepal
The Austrian government has made a commitment to invest in two hydropower projects with total installed capacity of 735 megawatts — 635-megawatt Dudhkoshi reservoir and 100-megawatt Tamakoshi V projects.
During the first joint-secretary level meeting held here yesterday, the governments of Nepal and Austria have reached a fresh agreement to invest in the two hydropower projects.
Prabin Aryal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, and Sonja Steeler, adviser of the deputy minister for transport, innovation and technology of Austria, inked the agreement.
Both the governments have also reached an agreement whereby Austria will provide technical assistance to enhance the capacity of the training centre of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
Earlier, Nepal and Austria had signed a cooperation agreement on infrastructure and technology in Austria on May 22. At that time, both the governments had agreed to invest in Nepal’s transportation and hydropower sectors.
At present, preparation of Dudhkoshi reservoir project’s detailed project report (DPR) is underway while the DPR of Tamakoshi V has already been completed and its construction work is expected to begin soon.
As per preliminary DPR report, as many as 1,150 households will be affected by Dudhkoshi project, which will be located along the border of Okhaldhunga and Khotang districts. A total of 162 houses will be fully affected, while 988 houses will be partially affected due to the project.
As per NEA, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report shows that the number of households that will be affected by the hydropower project is comparatively low.
At present, NEA has been collecting necessary suggestions from local levels, affected municipalities/rural municipalities, forest users groups, various organisations, political parties and locals in relation to the EIA report.
The Dudhkoshi project will be spread over an area of 19.8 square kilometres in Khotang and Okhaldhunga districts. As per NEA, the reservoir dam will be spread across 17 kilometres in Dudhkoshi, eight kilometres in Rawa Khola and 5.5 kilometres in Thotne Khola.
A joint venture between Italy and Japan has been carrying out the DPR of the reservoir project. The company has been undertaking works on comprehensive engineering designing, environmental and social impact and its possibility. Estimated to cost Rs 220 billion along with value added tax, tunnel boring machine will be used to dig the tunnel of the project.
For Tamakoshi V project, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has agreed to provide finance worth Rs 15 billion. The project will be developed at an estimated cost of $150 million. The project is being developed as a cascade project of 456MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project.