March 8: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Tuesday inaugurated Solukhola Dudhkoshi Hydropower Project, which is the largest hydropower project developed by private sector so far in the country.
Constructed at Solu Dudhkunda Municipality and Thulung Dudhkoshi Rural Municipality of Solukhumbu district, Solukhola Dudhskoshi Hydropower with installed capacity of 86 megawatt is the third largest hydropower project in the country.
The Run-of-the-river type project was estimate to cost Rs 11.86 billion initially. But, the cost increased to Rs 14 billion due to COVID-19, technical glitches, construction materials’ price rise, among others.
Promoted by Sahas Urja Limited, the hydropower generates 520.20 gigawatt power annually. The hydropower produces 100.27 gigawatt power in dry season and 419.93 gigawatt power in rainy season.
Inaugurating the hydropower project, PM Dahal said that successful development of the project had encouraged others involved in the hydropower sector. Dahal stated that recently held joint meeting of the energy secretaries from Nepal and India paved ways for Nepal's energy export and added that export of power was an appropriate means to reduce the country's trade deficit.
The PM also pledged to collaborate with the private sector and resolve the challenges for the development and expansion of energy sector, which he termed is a better option for economic development and trade deficit reduction.
Recalling that he had announced to begin mega and strategically important hydro projects in the country during his first prime ministerial stint, PM Prachanda argued that the projects have gradually advanced and would fulfill the country's development aspirations.
During his speech, the PM recalled that power outage had ended in the country practically and technically when he became the prime minister for the second time after Kulman Ghising was appointed as Executive Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority.
The PM Dahal said that appropriate time had come to make a leap in green hydrogen, thanks to the development in the energy sector. Stating that the developed countries had qualitatively increased the usage of hydrogen energy, Prachanda said Nepal too will move towards that end.
Sharing that he was suggested by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Executive Director Kulman Ghising to ride a hydrogen-powered vehicle, PM informed that he was preparing for the same.
Independent Power Producers’ Association Chairman Krishna Prasad Acharya asked the government to protect private sector involved in hydropower development.
“Since hydropower projects will have to be transferred to the government after fixed time period, the government has to see hydropower entrepreneurs differently,” Acharya said. He also drew the government’s attention to increase power consumption. Solukhola Dudhkoshi Hydropower Project’s Chairman Him Prasad Pathak held that use of water resource was the basis of Nepal’s prosperity.
The hydropower project will contribute 0.10 per cent power to the total national power production annually, according to hydropower project’s Managing Director Sushil Thapa. Electricity from the hydropower was connected to the national grid a month ago.