Water logistics: Sinohydro concerned by proposed hydro project

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 | | Money

Sinohydro Sagarmatha, the developer of the 50 MW Upper Marshyangdi-A Hydropower Project, has sought assurances from the government that its project will not be affected by another plant planned to be developed upstream.

The Chinese joint venture company wrote to the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) claiming that the 600 MW Upper Marshyangdi-2 Hydroelectric Project will have a negative impact on its electricity generation, and has asked for assurances from the department that it will not happen.

The letter claimed that the peaking run-of-the-river scheme like the Upper Marshyangdi would change the hydrology of the river, affecting the operation of run-of-the-river type projects downstream.

“Considering the fact that the Upper Marshyangdi-2 Hydroelectric Project (600 MW) being proposed as a peaking scheme, which will definitely change the hydrology of the Marshyangdi River and thus hamper the operation of downstream projects, especially designed as a run-of-the-river type,” Sinohydro said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

Sinohydro has asked the department to take necessary action to ensure the smooth operation of the existing project located downstream of the proposed Upper Marshyangdi-2. “We would like to be assured from your good office that when the Upper Marshyangdi-2 is under construction and in operation, it will not affect the revenue generation of our project,” Sinohydro said.

The DoED confirmed that it received Sinohydro’s letter around 10 days ago. It said that the letter would be forwarded to Investment Board Nepal (IBN) with another letter asking the board for its opinion. Director General Nabin Raj Singh said the department was started talks with IBN, which is facilitating the development of the Upper Marshyangdi-2 Hydroelectric Project, on the issue a couple of days ago.

“As IBN is looking after Upper Marshyangdi-2, we have asked it to address the concern of Sinohydro. We are yet to hear from them,” said Singh. He also said that it was too early to decide whether projects downstream would be affected.

“As Upper Marshyangdi-2 is yet to get a generation licence, it is too early to say that projects operating downstream will be affected,” said Singh. “Nevertheless, we have recorded the concern of the developer, and it will be addressed while issuing the generation licence for the project to be developed upstream on the Marshyangdi River.”

In 2008, Himtal Hydropower Company received the survey licence for the project, and it has done a detailed project report (DPR) and environmental impact assessment (EIA). However, the company is yet to sign a project development agreement with IBN.

Located in Lamjung and Manang districts in western Nepal, the Upper Marshyangdi-2 scheme is an export oriented run-of-the-river project with a peaking capacity of 3.1 hours at the minimum. As per the DPR of the project, the hydropower plant will have four generating units of 150 MW each giving a total installed capacity of 600 MW. The design energy per year is 2,282 gigawatt hours, and the construction is expected to take seven years.