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Nepal approves capacity increase of Upper Trishuli 3A hydropower project

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KATHMANDU, Nepal (1/4/2013) -- A recently approved plan to increase the capacity of Nepal's Upper Trishula 3A hydropower project from has not come without controversy, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The Upper Trishula 3A -- part of Nepal's plan to develop 10,000 MW of hydropower by the end of the decade -- is being constructed as a 60 MW hydroelectric project on the Trishuli River.

A decision approved at a meeting of Nepal's Council of Ministers earlier this week, however, will see the project's capacity increased to 90 MW.

The proposal had already been rejected by the country's Ministry of Energy and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), though the expansion plan -- officially endorsed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Thursday -- trumps their disinterest.

Opponents argue that the plant's additional capacity is unnecessary as the Upper Trishula 3A would only be capable of producing the extra 30 MW of power during Nepal's wet season, meaning it couldn't help relieve power shortages when needed most in the dry seasons.

The run-of-river project is being developed by China Gezhouba with funding from the China Export-Import Bank.

Sources said the project's cost at 60 MW was expected to be US$89 million, though the Nepal government said it will spend $132 million for the 90 MW version.

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