Three Indian firms and an Indian/Spanish joint venture are competing with three Chinese firms for a portion of a hydropower project in Nepal. Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Jyoti Structures Ltd. and KEC International Ltd. are the Indian firms. The joint venture is composed of Spain’s Cobras Instalaciones Y Servicios and India’s Aravali Infrapower Ltd. The short-listed Chinese firms are Sinohydro Corp., Central China Power Grid International Economic and Trade Co., and Shanghai Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Engineering.

The Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project is located on the Tamakoshi River in the Dolakha district, about 50 miles northeast of Katmandu. The major components are a concrete dam 22.5 meters high and 60 m long, a 7.2-mile-long headrace tunnel, twin desanding basins and an underground powerhouse.

Sinohydro already has been awarded the main civil-works contract, consisting of the tunnel, dam and powerhouse, and started work in September 2010.

The seven firms are competing to build a 28.5-kilometer access road, a 47- km, 220-kV transmission line and a substation. According to Senior Hydropower Engineer Bimal Gurung, “It may take about one year to finalize [that contract].”

The 456-megawatt project is being developed by Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Ltd. (UTHL), a subsidiary of the state-run Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). The project is estimated to cost about $500 million and is funded by UTHL, NEA and a loan from the Nepal Employees Provident Fund.

It is expected to be completed by 2015.