Nuwakot, Rasuwa turning into hydro, solar hubs as investors pour moneyAccording to the available data, 1,093 MW of electricity is being generated from Trishuli river alone.
Manorath Shrestha of Bidur had access to electricity five decades ago after the Trishuli hydropower project was constructed. The 21 MW project not only lit Nuwakot and its surrounding areas, but also the Kathmandu Valley.
Built in 1983, the Trishuli project capacity increased to 35 MW after the 14 MW Devighat project was added as its cascade project. It was followed by the Chilime Hydropower Project in Syabrubesi of Rasuwa, over a decade later. The 22 MW project was jointly funded by the Nepal Electricity Authority and the private sector and started commercial production in 2001.
Since 2005, the Trishuli river has been attracting hordes of investors. The river has seen more than a dozen new hydropower projects which are under construction.
The hydro development from Trishuli river has changed the scenario of both Nuwakot and Rasuwa. According to the available data, 1,093 MW of electricity is being generated from Trishuli river alone.
The 30 MW Trishuli 3A started commercial production in 2018. Funded by Chilime, another 111 MW Rasuwagadhi Hydropower Project is at its final phase of completion.
Similarly, the 120 MW Rasuwa Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project is under construction near Timure and the 52 MW Chilime Bhotekoshi is also under active construction. The 4.8 MW Timure hydro is also being constructed in Ghatte River located in the eastern part of Rasuwagadhi.
Similarly, 78 MW capacity from Sanjen River is also under construction. Below the Chilime Hydropower Production Centre, two projects are being constructed, the 102 MW Upper Trishuli II and 216 MW Upper Trishuli I.
“Upper Trishuli I project has completed the power purchase agreement and has constructed a concrete bridge above Mailung River to connect the powerhouse. Another bridge connecting the dam site is under-construction,” said Giri Raj Adhikari, the chief of the project.
There are three hydropower projects in Mailung River—5 MW Mailung River Hydropower Project, 14.3 MW Upper Mailung and 6.5 MW Upper Mailung 3A.
Mailung River is formed from the snow melted from Mt Ganesh. Below the Mailung river, there is 60 MW Upper Trishuli A in Trishuli river while the 37 MW Upper Trishuli 3B is under construction on the same river.
The Trishuli corridor is also home to solar projects. In 2018, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of a 25MW solar plant at Devighat Hydropower Station in Nuwakot. Once complete, it will become Nepal’s largest solar power plant at a single location.
Nepal Electricity Authority said once the plant starts producing power, hydro projects such as Kulekhani, Kali Gandaki A, Mid Marshyangdi, Marshyangdi and Chilime will not need to operate during the daytime, saving the reservoir water for later use. The power produced by the solar plant will be fed directly into the national grid to supply it to the Kathmandu Valley during the day time.
In February 2015, the World Bank agreed to provide $130 million to the government to build solar stations to supply electricity to the Kathmandu Valley and reduce electricity leakage. Out of that amount, $37 million was earmarked for the installation of solar plants at Devighat and Trishuli in Nuwakot district.