Severe floods in eastern Nepal cause extensive damage to hydel projects worth Rs 8.5 bn

KATHMANDU: The recent floods in Taplejung, Panchthar, Sankhuwasabha, and Bhojpur districts of Eastern Nepal have wreaked havoc on a total of 30 hydropower projects, resulting in damages amounting to Rs 8.5 billion.

According to the Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN), the floods that occurred on June 16 and June 17 caused significant destruction to these projects, which collectively had a capacity of 463 MW. Among them, 13 operating projects with a total capacity of 132 MW suffered losses of approximately Rs 6 billion.

The most severely affected hydropower project was the 22.1 MW Lower Hewa Khola Hydropower Project, which incurred a staggering loss of Rs 1 billion. The 25 MW Kabeli B-1 project also suffered significant damage, amounting to Rs 500 million.

The 4.7 MW Upper Piluwa-2 Hydropower Project experienced structural damage to its headwork, pipe alignment, and power house. It is estimated that the repair work for these damages will take over two years to complete, with an estimated cost of Rs 900 million.

Additionally, 17 hydropower projects that were still under construction, with a combined capacity of 327 MW, faced losses exceeding Rs 2 billion due to the floods.

The Super Hewa Khola Hydropower Project, with a loss of Rs 800 million, suffered the most severe damage among them. Tragically, during the flood, 18 workers at the project site were swept away, and so far, only four bodies have been recovered.

The Super Hewa Khola Hydropower Project had already completed 90 percent of its construction work before the floods hit. Harka Bahadur Tamang, the project’s chairman, stated that it might take up to two years to restore and repair the project.

Similarly, the 97.5 MW Isuwakhola Hydropower Project suffered damages worth Rs 500 million, while the under-construction infrastructure of the 9.7 MW Ingwa Khola project faced an equivalent amount of damage.

The devastating impact of these floods on the hydropower sector in Eastern Nepal underscores the urgent need for extensive rehabilitation efforts and measures to mitigate such risks in the future.

The government and relevant authorities must prioritize the restoration of damaged projects to ensure the resumption of clean energy generation and prevent further setbacks in the region’s development.

Fiscal Nepal |
Sunday June 25, 2023, 01:00:55 PM |

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