Nepal fuel crisis brings hydropower projects to standstill

17 November 2015

Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project in Nepal

Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project in Nepal

Work at six hydroelectric facilities in Nepal has stalled due to a lack of both fuel and construction materials.

One of the largest sites is the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, being built by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), in the Dolkha District, 200 km east of the capital Kathmandu.

Mukesh Kafle, managing director of NEA, said, “The unavailability of petroleum has shattered our dream of making the country free of load-shedding within the next two years. All these projects are certain to be delayed, which also means they are looking at cost overruns.

“Tamakoshi was right on track, and we were expecting that it would be completed by mid-January 2016. It seems now that the target won’t be achieved.”

Of the six projects on which work isnow suspended, the Tamakoshi project has been hit particularly hard, having already been stalled for six months following a powerful earthquake in April.

According to Kafle, the project will now be delayed by at least a year.

Another major facility affected by the lack of fuel is the 111 MW Rasuwagadhi Hydroelectricity Project.

Rasuwagadhi and two further hydroelectricity construction projects are located in the Rasuwa district, another of the areas affected by April’s earthquake and its aftershocks.

The Indian amabassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae has denied reports in the Nepalese media that India has effectively imposed an undeclared embargo on the movement of goods – including gasoline – into Nepal.

He blamed security issues on the border between the two countries for restrictions to the movement of essential goods.

Mr Rae said he hoped the issue would soon be resolved, as the major political parties and the agitating groups were now involved in informal talks.

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