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Due Diligence for Hydro Power Projects

A site visit is the most important step in assessing the viability of the proposed hydro power project and should be conducted with full seriousness before committing an investment. A Site visit gives the investor an idea of the location of the project, its accessibility, relative ease or difficulty of the terrain and working conditions. A site visit conducted with an experienced team of professionals can provide a very good overview of the technical feasibility of the project. The equipment to be carried during the site visit should include digital camera, altimeter, GPS device and binoculars.

A document containing guidelines for conducting site visits can be downloaded here. The main areas to be covered in the site visit include:

  • Geology of the area and topography (steep or gentle slopes, potential land slide zones)
  • General placement of main components such as powerhouse, penstock, forebay, water conductor alignment and intake structures
  • Water flow during site visit, flood levels
  • Type of land along project components and presence of obstacles such as villages, houses, farms, deep gorges etc.
  • Study of both banks along the project stretch and identification of the bank more suitable for the project
  • Taking photographs of the site for future reference
  • Access roads present and roads required to be constructed
  • Power evacuation arrangement and transmission line alignment

In addition to the site visit, desktop studies can be conducted both before and after the visit to understand the project and its viability. Desktop studies require that the following documents (if prepared) be sourced from the project owner/ developer:

  • Feasibility study reports and Detailed project report (DPR)
  • Topography Survey file (Auto-cad or hard copy)
  • Copy of allotment letter from appropriate government authority
  • Copy of permits and NoCs from various departments (as applicable)
  • Drawings or technical designs/ notes if prepared
  • Hydrology data and power potential/ PLF calculation
  • Cost assessment for the project by calculating Bill of Quantities (BoQ) and analysis of rates.
A feasibility or due diligence report can be prepared, incorporating the site visit findings, photographs and desktop studies.

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