Chameliya begins power output from 2nd turbine

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    Feb 2, 2018-The Chameliya Hydropower Project in the country’s far west has started generating electricity from its second unit.

    The number two turbine at the 30 MW hydropower station growled into life on Wednesday, and started feeding power into the national grid via the 132 kV Blanch-Attariya transmission line.

    The Chameliya project, which is owned by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), completed its wet test on Wednesday afternoon.

    The second turbine is being operated at around 50 percent of capacity as the project is conducting a load rejection test of the unit. The load rejection test, which will continue for five days, will examine the system’s ability to withstand sudden loss of load and capability to subsequently return to normal operating condition. Upon completion of the test, the project will conduct a reliability test when the turbine will be operated at full capacity for 72 hours. “We are planning to complete the reliability test by February 10,” said Ajay Kumar Dahal, the NEA appointed project chief of Chameliya.

    After the completion of the reliability test of the second turbine, one of the most troubled hydro projects located in Darchula district, will finally start generating electricity at full capacity.

    The Chameliya project has been generating 15 MW of electricity from its first turbine. “As this project is a peaking run-of-the-river plant, the first turbine generates 15 MW for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening,” said Dahal.

    “After we are ready to operate at full capacity, we will coordinate with the NEA’s load dispatch centre and start generating electricity as per the country’s demand pattern.”

    The construction of the Chameliya plant started in 2008. It was originally scheduled to be completed by 2011 at a cost of Rs8 billion. But the completion date was pushed back repeatedly due to disputes between NEA and the contractors. The time overrun has inflated the project cost to around Rs15 billion.

    The project faced its biggest hurdle in 2014 when all work came to a grinding halt following the government’s refusal to make an additional payment of Rs1.09 billion which the civil contractor had demanded for cost variance.

    China Gezhouba Group Corporation had asked for extra payment citing “cost variance resulting from the squeezing of the tunnel”. The contractor agreed to resume work after being summoned to the Energy Ministry by the then energy minister Janardan Sharma.

    The Chinese civil contractor returned to work in October 2016, and completed the construction within the deadline by expediting the project.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post