KATHMANDU, DEC 28 – The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has put the construction of transmission lines on a rush schedule as their slow progress has emerged as a major obstacle to the development of hydropower.
As part of this initiative, the development of the Khimti-Dhalkebar, cross-border Dhalkebar-Bhittamod-Muzaffarpur, Bharatpur-Bardaghart and Singati-Lamosanghu power lines is being speeded up.
Likewise, the state-owned power utility has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sino-Sagarmatha Hydropower to build a 132 kV single-circuit transmission line from Bhulbhule to the Marsyangdi corridor. The 20-km transmission line is intended to evacuate the energy generated by the 50 MW Upper Marsyangdi A Hydropower Project.
“Transmission lines might emerge as a large problem if immediate attention isn’t given to them,” said NEA Managing Director Mukesh Kafle. “I have tried to make most of the projects functional. The development of transmission lines must keep pace with the construction of hydropower projects.”
Power line projects have encountered a number of problems mostly related to land acquisition, compensation to landowners and forest clearance. The Maikhola Hydropower Project has not been able to evacuate the power generated by it due to the NEA’s failure to complete the transmission line in the Kabeli corridor in eastern Nepal.
Kafle said that the NEA would apply its own measures to conclude the construction of the 75-km Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line after the World Bank withdraws from the project. It has asked the multilateral donor to pull out as the project has been immobilized due to land compensation disputes.
The World Bank’s guideline forbids the NEA from taking firmer measures to push the project ahead, and with its exit, the power utility believes that it can finish the construction in five to six months.
The World Bank-funded 220-kV transmission line project is yet to be completed even 10 years after construction began. Locals of Sindhuli have sought a hefty compensation of Rs 100 million for 3.6 hectares of land that lies in the path of the proposed transmission line.
Of the 188 towers under the project, 180 have already been constructed. Delays in erecting the remaining eight electricity pylons located on this 3.5-km stretch have been holding up the entire project.
As per the NEA, it has been facing problems from locals regarding compensation for the construction of a new substation to evacuate the power generated by the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project.
“However, we have no intention of waiting for the problem to be sorted,” Kafle said, adding that the NEA was planning to use the substation of the Khimti hydro project by adding a bay to evacuate the power generated by the project.
Meanwhile, the NEA stated that the development of the Dhalkebhar-Bhittamod-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line was progressing satisfactorily. Of the 112 transmission towers which are Nepal’s responsibility, eight have been erected and the foundations of 38 towers are being built.
While the project is scheduled to be completed in June 2015, the NEA said that it could be finished by April considering the pace at which work has been moving ahead.
Similarly, the construction of the Bharatpur-Bardaghat transmission line, which has remained in limbo for the past four years, has started. The project failed to make progress due to forest related issues. The troubled 132 kV Singati-Lamosanghu project too is ready to begin construction.
Kafle said that the NEA was in a position to meet the construction deadlines of most of the transmission line projects if issues related to forest clearance and land compensation were addressed.
Likewise, Nepal and India have agreed to do a study on possible technical difficulties while interconnecting transmission lines to formulate a master plan for the period until 2035 and an action plan until 2025 on power trade. The NEA is also conducting a study for better transmission line management.
Source : eKantipur