400-m-long tunnel completed at 37.3-MW Kabeli A hydro project in Nepal

Nepal map

Progress is continuing at the US$108 million 37.3-MW Kabeli A hydropower project in Nepal, as work at the site is completed on a 400-m-long tunnel. 

The project is located on Kabeli River between Pachthar and Taplejung districts, about 620 km east of Kathmandu, in the Eastern Development Region and is expected to be commissioned in 2020.

Officials made the announcement today saying project contractor, China-based Zhejiyang Hydropower Construction and Installation Company Ltd., completed the tunnel within two months.

According to project developer Kabeli Energy Ltd. (KEL), this is a peaking run-of-river scheme that will include a 4,327-m-long head race tunnel and a 14.3-m-high by 60-m-long barrage to impound Kabeli River. The impoundment will create a catchment that has a live storage capacity of 0.315 million m3. The project’s gross head will be about 116.8 m and the design discharge based on the 40% flow in the river is expected to be 37.73 m3/s.

Nepal’s first private sector power company, Butwal Power Co. (BPC), and Singapore-based InfraCo Asia Development Private Ltd. (InfraCo Asia) jointly own the project with BPC owning 55% and InfraCo Asia the remaining 45%.

KEL said the government of Nepal awarded it the project in 2010 under a build-own-operate-transfer model that has a 35-year generation license.

According to information from the World Bank Group, it is providing $46 million to finance the project. The Kathmandu Post reports $38.6 million in funding is coming from International Finance Corp.

Several additional organizations are providing project financing and they include: the Canadian Climate Change Program, Nepal Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Co., NIC Asia Bank, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland and Department for International Development of the UK.

For additional recent news on hydropower development in Nepal, click here.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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