Blanch-Attariya power line testing goes well

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    Sep 25, 2017-The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has successfully conducted tests of a crucial transmission line that will link hilly areas in the far western region to the national power grid, the state-owned power utility said.

    Tests began on the 132 kV Blanch-Attariya transmission line and its substation on September 3. They have now been completed, according to Pushpa Raj Joshi, site in-charge of the transmission line project.

    “During the tests, the performance of all equipment, the substation located at Attariya and the equipment installed at the Chameliya Hydropower Project site were examined,” Joshi said. “However, we are yet to conduct a distance protection test [for possibilities of outages and loss of grid stability].”

    The 131-km transmission line connects Darchula with the far western business hub of Attariya. It will be used to evacuate energy generated by the 30 MW Chameliya Hydropower Project which is in the final phase of construction.

    The transmission line project was slated to be completed by 2014, but various factors, including problems in acquiring private and forest land, pushed back the completion date.

    Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company, the contractor hired to build the transmission line, brought a team of experts to the project site to begin the tests.

    The team, which also comprised NEA officials, began testing the line from a substation in Darchula.

    The power line being developed with financial aid from the Korean government is vital for evacuating more than 200 MW of electricity being generated by different hydropower plants at various river basins in the far western region.

    The Chameliya Hydropower Project will be the first scheme to evacuate energy using the Blanch-Attariya power line. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company, which is also the electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical contractor for the hydropower project, is preparing to conduct a wet test of the plant and machinery.

    The Korean contractor, according to NEA, has filled the project’s 4-km tunnel with water. The wet test will begin immediately after the Dashain festival, according to the NEA, the owner of the Chameliya project.

    Construction of the Chameliya Hydropower Project began in 2007. It was slated to come online by 2011, but this did not happen because of various factors like carelessness of the contractor and difficult terrain.

    In May 2014, construction at the site came to a complete halt after the government refused to make an additional payment of Rs1.09 billion which the contractor had demanded for cost variance resulting from the squeezing of the tunnel.

    The contractor agreed to resume work after the Energy Ministry directed it to do so immediately.

    The NEA has also agreed to release a provisional payment of the disputed bill before the issue is resolved in order to maintain a regular cash flow for the project.

    After the dispute is settled, the contractor has to return the excess if it has been paid too much, and it will receive additional payment in case of a deficit.

    This dispute has doubled the project cost. The outlay is expected to top Rs15.8 billion by the time construction works are completed.

    This means the project will cost Rs526.7 million per MW, which is more than three times higher than usual.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post