175MW power to be added to national grid this fiscal
- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
Aug 12, 2016- Around 175MW electricity will be added to the national grid within this fiscal year. According to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), around two dozen hydropower projects, all developed by independent power producers (IPPs), will be completed by the year-end. Major addition to the national grid will be 50MW energy from the Upper Marshyangdi A project. “The project is expected to generate electricity by August,” said NEA Managing Director Mukesh Kafle. “A transmission line to evacuate the power will also be ready by that time.”
China’s Sino Hydro and Nepal’s Sagarmatha Power Company are jointly developing this run-of-the-river project at Bhulbhule in Lamjung. Another major addition will be 25MW from the Upper Madi hydropower project. China International Water & Electric Co (CWE) has invested in the project under the build-operate-transfer model (BOT). CWE, the wholly-owned subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG), is also developing 750MW West Seti Hydropower Project. The company has 80 percent stake in the project. Besides these two projects, an additional 100MW electricity from 21 hydropower projects, which are in final stages of construction, will be added to the national grid this fiscal, according to NEA. “If everything goes as planned, electricity generated by these projects will be connected to the national grid within this fiscal year,” said Prabal Adhikari, chief of power purchase at NEA. NEA has signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) will these 21 projects in US dollar terms.
While the projects developed by IPPs are making good progress, the government-funded ones are struggling. The 30MW Chameliya Hydropower Project is still in limbo. Although NEA has said the project will start power generation within six months, some of its officials say such chances are slim. The project’s construction was halted after the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament in 2014 July directed the Energy Ministry to hold NEA’s decision to pay variation charges worth Rs1.09 billion to the contractor. The committee then approved the payment in December 2015, but the contractor is now demanding additional money for the delay.
Similarly, the much-touted 456MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, which was hit hard by last year’s earthquakes, is struggling to regain its momentum. Construction works are moving ahead very slowly as the access road to project site was severely damaged by the quake. “This project will not be completed within this fiscal year,” said the NEA official. The NEA officials said the addition of the 175MW electricity to the national grid will help reduce load shedding hours. With domestic production not enough to fulfil the demand, NEA is importing 345MW power from India through four major transmission lines. Of the total import, 80MW is being imported through Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur, up to 120MW through Kataiya-Kushhawa, 30MW through Tanakpur-Mahendranagar and up to 25MW through Ramnagar-Gandak transmission lines.
NEA slashes outage hours
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has slashed load shedding by 15 hours a week, effective from Thursday. With this revision, power cuts will decrease to 48 hours a week from existing 63. NEA MD Mukesh Kafle said flow of water in rivers has increased, increasing power output. NEA said the load shedding will keep on decreasing from now onwards. “By the end of August, we will again review the outage hours as Upper Marshyangdi-A will start generating electricity by then,” said Kafle.