Nepal’s 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project now operating

Upper Tamakoshi

The 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project (UTKHEP) is now operating in Nepal, according to contractor Tractebel.

The plant, the largest hydroelectric project in the country, is located in a remote region of the upper Himalayas on the Tamakoshi River, about 6 km from the border with Tibet. With a natural head of 822 m and six underground units, it produces up to 2,281 GWh of electricity annually. This renewable energy will improve living conditions and promote economic development in the country.

The major components of this project are the intake, a 22-m-high concrete dam, twin desanding basins, a 7.86-km-long headrace tunnel, a 360-m-high surge shaft, a 495-m-long penstock pipe, an underground powerhouse with six Pelton turbines, a 2.9-km-long tailrace tunnel, and a 47-km-long 220-kV transmission line to Khimti substation.

All six turbines and generators have been in full operation since September 2021, the release said. During the rainy season, the total electricity generation of Nepal will exceed what the population and the economy are consuming. The country can benefit in several ways from the surplus of electricity: Electricity costs will decrease, there are plans to supply consumers in need with electricity free of charge, and Nepal could export electricity.

The Nepal Electricity Authority, Nepal Telecom, Citizens Investment Trust and Rastriya Beema Sansthan are the promoters of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited (UTKHPL). The general public has also made a huge investment through the company’s initial public offering (IPO). UTKHPL, executing agency of the plant, is considering a second expansion stage, the 20-MW Rolwaling Khola Hydroelectric Project (RKHEP), which would contribute another 105 GWh.

“Hydroelectric energy is one of the sustainable renewable energies with low-carbon emissions. The use of hydropower as the main source of energy for everyday activities will help to noticeably reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions in Nepal,” says Swochhendra Rokka, project coordinator with Tractebel.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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