Nepal’s economy grows with hydropower

The new hydropower plant in Nepal will help meet the region’s growing energy needs by providing electricity from renewable sources for domestic use and export. The Tractebel experts are overseeing the construction project as Owner’s Engineer.

The Upper Trishuli 1 hydropower plant is being built on the Trishuli River in the Rasuwa region, an area that is quickly becoming a major hydropower hub. The future plant will contribute significantly to the energy needs of Nepal and beyond. It will also spur economic growth and contribute to poverty reduction in this remote and rural area, mainly through job creation during the five-year construction phase.

As Owner’s Engineer, the Tractebel hydropower experts are responsible for consultation and supervision throughout the entire construction process. The mandate is a joint venture with local partner Jade Consult Pvt. Ltd. for the Nepal Water & Energy Development Company Pvt. Ltd. (NWEDC).

Run-of-river power plant strengthens Nepal’s position as a hydropower hub

Upper Trishuli 1 will be a run-of-river power plant. Unlike conventional hydroelectric plants, run-of-river installations do not use reservoirs for water storage. The new power plant will consist of the following:

  • 7 km long headrace tunnel with a diameter of about 6.5 m and a discharge capacity of 76 m3 per second
  • Surge chamber and a vertical pressure shaft over 300 m long
  • 5-meter-high detour weir with spillway
  • Underground powerhouse with three 72 MW turbines
  • Transformer cavern and 220 kV overhead switchgear, as well as 1.1 km of transmission line

The plant is designed to generate 1,456 GWh per year, or 1.53 billion energy units. This output brings Nepal closer to its goal of becoming a regional power hub.

Upper Trishuli 1 in the works since 2016

NWEDC, in partnership with international investors, is developing the project on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The government of Nepal singed the agreement in December 2016. Since then, the project has gone through an elaborate consultation process that culminated in a comprehensive, three-phase Broad Community Support (BCS) process. The local population was heavily involved in this phase.

Tractebel and partner permanently on-site through 2026

The Tractebel project team has been on-site since the beginning of January 2022. Three international experts from Tractebel and local experts from partner Jade Consult are now permanently present to oversee the construction project. The hydropower plant is scheduled for completion by December 2026.

Preparatory work for construction has begun.

“The Upper Trishuli 1 hydropower plant will generate electricity from a renewable energy source that produces very low carbon emissions. It is therefore in line with our ambition to support the use of renewable energy and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With our expertise, we support countries in their journeys to self-sufficiency in cleaner energy.”

Sumit Bajracharya, Business Development and Project Execution Manager of Tractebel in Nepal