Tractebel has recently inked a contract for the development of two hydropower projects in the Mugu district of Nepal's Karnali Province. These projects, the Upper Mugu Karnali and Namlan Khola, will have a combined capacity of 441MW, bringing Nepal closer to achieving its ambitious goal of 100% electrification nationwide.

Nepal has faced numerous challenges in electrifying remote areas and rugged mountainous terrain. However, the construction of the Upper Mugu Karnali and Namlan Khola hydropower projects will play a pivotal role in overcoming these obstacles and moving the country towards its electrification target, Tractebel said. The company's team of experts will be responsible for updating feasibility studies, detailed engineering design, and environmental impact studies for both project sites.

The contract, which was signed in April 2023, was mandated by clients Elevate Energy and Apollo Energy, both subsidiaries of the Golyan Group. Tractebel will contribute to the preliminary phases of the projects, including feasibility studies, engineering design, tender document preparation, and environmental impact assessments. The engagement commenced in May 2023 and is expected to continue until December 2024.

Notably, these projects mark the first time the International Development Finance Cooperation (DFC) has provided funding for hydropower initiatives in Nepal. Furthermore, they represent some of the largest private sector-led hydropower developments in the country.

The Upper Mugu Karnali project will include a 27m  high barrier with four floodgates, each measuring 10m in width and height. Additionally, two approach tunnels, approximately 1km in length, will be constructed. Other key components consist of a 4-chamber underground desander, a 16km-long headrace tunnel, a 67m-high underground surge shaft, a penstock pipe spanning nearly 3km, a surface powerhouse equipped with four 60MW turbines, a switchyard for connecting the power to the national grid, a double-circuit 400kV transmission line, and essential infrastructure such as access roads.

Similarly, the Namlan Khola project will contribute to Nepal's growing energy capacity. It will feature a 27m high weir/spillway with two floodgates measuring 15.6m in width and 12m in height. The project will also comprise three approach tunnels, approximately 140m in length, a 3-chamber underground desander, a nearly 5km-long headrace tunnel, an 80m-high underground surge shaft, a penstock pipe spanning approximately 435m, an underground powerhouse housing three 45MW Francis turbines, an underground switchyard, a double-circuit 400kV transmission line stretching 120km, and necessary infrastructure including access roads.

“Tractebel is honoured to provide our services to Elevate Energy and Apollo Energy and contribute to these two important hydroelectric projects,” said Sumit Bajracharya, Business Development and Project Execution Manager. “They demonstrate our commitment to delivering sustainable energy solutions that benefit both the environment and the country’s economic growth. We are excited to be part of these important initiatives and look forward to applying our expertise towards the success of these projects."