China Gezhouba Group to build 1,200MW hydropower project in Nepal

The government of Nepal has lined up China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) to build the 1,200MW Budhi Gandaki hydro project.

The project is located in the centre of Nepal, about 80 kilometres west of Kathmandu on the Budhi Gandaki River, which runs through the Gorkha and Dhading districts.

Location of Budhi Gandaki hydropower project. Courtesy Google Maps.

The huge Budhi Gandaki power project is viewed as crucial to alleviate Nepal's electricity shortages, while also decreasing its dependence on fossil fuels.

The preliminary agreement involves CGGC putting together final plans under an engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) model, which is expected to be backed by a loan from Export Import Bank of China. Total project cost is estimated at US$2.5 billion.

The main structures include a 263-metre-high dam, a reservoir flooding area of around 63 square kilometres, and a surface powerhouse with six 200MW turbines.

Nepali Energy Minister Janardan Sharma made the announcement after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, more commonly known as Prachanda, and his cabinet gave its approval in principle. CGGC will now have one year to make a final technical assessment and line up financing in place before the final contract is signed.

CGGC is already involved in developing the 30MW Chameliya HPP in the far west of Nepal, and the 60MW Upper Trishuli 3A HPP in the central Nepal.