Delays in the construction of the hydro-mechanical component are likely to make the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project miss its recently revised completion deadline. The 456 MW national pride project located in eastern Nepal had planned to start commercial generation of electricity by mid-November 2019, according to Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Company, a subsidiary of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
Highly placed NEA sources said it would be impossible to meet the new deadline unless the project office finds an alternative to Texamo, the Indian contractor hired to execute the hydro-mechanical works
“It seems like the contractor hired for the hydro-mechanical job is not competent enough to carry out the crucial task of fitting the penstock pipes at the power plant,” said the source. The penstock pipes deliver water from the dam into the turbines in the powerhouse to generate electricity“If the project office doesn’t solve this issue, the project will not meet the revised completion deadline,” said the source.
“The management must make a bold decision and replace the Indian contractor.”
The project office agreed that the contractor hired to implement the hydro-mechanical component was not performing satisfactorily, but it said the work would be completed by the deadline.
“We are on track to complete the project by the revised deadline,” said Ganesh Neupane, spokesperson for Upper Tamakoshi. According to Neupane, the project is trying to convince the Indian contractor to subcontract some of the tasks to Andritz Hydro which is implementing the electro-mechanical works.
As terminating the contract and appointing another contractor will take several months, the project management is planning to ask Texamo to subcontract some of its jobs to Andritz Hydro.
The project has faced cost overruns due to the delay. It was initially planned to be built at a cost of Rs35 billion, but the final bill is now expected to reach Rs50 billion. The total cost will reach Rs70 billion if interest is added. The project is considered to be a model project which is being developed with domestic resources and a high level of participation by project-affected locals and the general public.
After the Upper Tamakoshi roars into life, Nepal is projected to have surplus energy at least during the wet season, and the NEA will be in a position to export electricity to neighbouring India. During the wet season, surplus energy can be transmitted over the Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line to the Dhalkebar substation, and on to the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line for export to India.