There was a time Nepal saw up to 16 hours of daily power cuts. Enter Hydro Village Pvt. Ltd.
The company, which came into being in 2015, was established with the intent of converting the country’s untapped water resources into electricity to power up communities.
Myagdi Khola Hydropower Project is one of the company’s major projects. Set to be developed at Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality-4 in Myagdi district, the run-of-river hydel project aims to generate 500MW of electricity by 2035.
“The company’s goal is to increase the country’s electricity production and contribute to its economy,” says Sushil Pokharel, managing director of Hydro Village.
Starting a hydropower project is no joke, Pokharel says. It calls for intensive study and research. Almost five years went into research before the project development work actually started.
“This study includes monitoring of environmental factors like weather of the proposed project site, assessment of disasters like landslides, geotechnical investigation, as well as evaluation of the power generation capacity and revenues,” he adds.
Myagdi Khola Hydropower Project is a long-term undertaking. Even mid-range projects with 50-100MW capacity take at least seven to 10 years to complete. Pokharel says it will take much longer for them to develop a 500MW project.
Project work has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. But now, with the study and other preliminary works over, construction is set to start in September 2022.
“We are currently in the first phase of this project that starts with producing 57MW,” says Pokharel. Hydro Village is also planning electricity projects in other parts of the country.
“We are trying to enhance hydropower development in Nepal, as well as contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Pokharel. “To that end, we are also committed to clean and sustainable energy.”
Moreover, almost every project the company is developing or planning is based in rural areas.
“Developing hydropower projects in rural areas means development of proper roadways, which is the key to economic growth,” says Pokharel. “Rural communities will have access to more opportunities, especially new businesses. Local economic growth will in turn benefit the country’s economy.”
Many rural areas of Nepal lack good health facilities. With proper road access brought by hydropower projects, Pokharel says many people can at least travel to health facilities outside their areas during medical emergencies.
“Besides, we hope rural areas get their own health facilities once they have proper roads,” Pokharel says. There is also the chance of more schools being built or at least more children getting access to education.
Hydro Village is developing not just hydropower projects and power stations. It is developing the whole country—one village at a time.