Electricity imports from India during peak hours jumped above 30 percent

Dec 13, 2018-

Electricity imports from India during peak hours jumped more than 30 percent in the past month following a sharp fall in domestic production due to shrinking water levels in the rivers where a majority of the hydropower plants are located.

The Nepal Electricity Authority imported 482 MW of electricity from India via various cross-border transmission lines on Monday during peak demand. A month ago, the state-owned power utility was importing only 365 MW during this time.

On Monday, demand reached 1,170 MW, according to the Authority. Domestic hydropower plants owned by the Authority and private developers generated 688 MW while it imported 482 MW from India to meet the increased demand.

Hydropower projects owned by the power utility generated 445 MW of electricity compared to their total installed capacity of 507 MW, according to its statistics. Power plants owned by private developers produced 243 MW of electricity, well below their combined installed capacity of 520 MW.

As a majority of hydropower plants in the country are run-of-the-river types, their output fluctuates with the water level in the rivers on which they are located. Generation drops sharply during the dry season when there is less water in the rivers. The only power plants with a reservoir are Kulekhani I and II. These two projects generate a combined 92 MW.

According to Prabal Adhikari, spokesperson for the Authority, electricity generation has dropped sharply at the hydropower plants on major rivers due to a fall in the discharge. Generation at the Authority-owned 144 MW Kali Gandaki Hydropower Project, the country’s largest plant, has dropped more than 40 percent to 85 MW. The 70 MW Middle Marshyangdi is generating 45 MW and the 69 MW Marshyangdi is producing only 50 MW of electricity.

“When we look at the current pattern of electricity generation from the domestic hydropower plants, it is similar to that of last year,” said Adhikari. “As power generation in the country could dip further, we might have to import more from India in the near future.”

Last winter, the Authority imported around 500 MW of electricity from India during peak hours when domestic generation dropped by more than half. This winter will not be different in terms of power imports. The utility might even buy more from the southern neighbour as some of the cross-border power lines have been upgraded, enabling it to increase the amount of electricity than can be transmitted.

The Authority had expected to cut power imports from India this winter, but it didn’t happen due to delays in the construction of the much-awaited 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project.

 

Source: The Kathmandu Post