Ilam harnessing its hydropower potential

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    mai hydro headworksILLAM, AUG 17 – Against the trend of obtaining licences and holding on to them without starting work, Illam district has witnessed development of several hydropower projects.

    Construction of projects worth more than Rs 12 billion is under way at two major rivers — Puwa and Mai Khola. The projects have a combined capacity of over 60MW.

    Besides, Puwakhola Project (6.2MW) of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Sana Maikhola Hydropower Project (4.5MW) of Himal Dolkha Hydropower have already entered generation phase.

    The under-construction projects will serve largely to the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor and tea industries in Jhapa and Illam. Consumers of the Eastern region are optimistic locally-generated energy will be able to fulfil their demand. The region imports up to 70MW energy from India, while the demand stands at over 150MW.

    Maikhola Hydropower Project of Sanima Mai Hydropower Company, which will start generation within a few months, and My Valley Hydropower’s Upper Mai, which will go online this year, will play a crucial role in addressing the power crisis. Puwakhola and Rajduwali projects of Joshi Hydropower too will serve the purpose.

    Promoted by Non-Residential Nepalis (NRN), Sanima, which is developing a 22MW project in the Southern part of Chisapani, has reached final stages of completion. Construction work on tunnel, headwork and powerhouse has been completed, while the work on a 13km transmission line is under way. “Our focus is now on the transmission line,” said Bhoj Raj Poudel, residential engineer of the project. “The energy generation will start as soon s the transmission line up to Rajduwali is constructed.”

    The Sanima project has been pressing for the speedy completion of Sector A — from Damak, Jhapa to Taplejung — under the Kabeli transmission line corridor.

    Sanima has also expedited work on a 7MW casket project. It has taken the water from the headwork in Gunmune, bordering Chisapani and Soyak, to Danabari using a 2,200m tunnel.

    It has taken the same water through another tunnel for the casket project.

    “Due to the two projects that have started energy generation, several industries, including big and small tea industries, are opening up,” said Sushila Shapkota, president of Illam Chamber of Commerce.

    Upper Mai Hydropower Project constructed in Uttari Mabu and Maimjhuwa is expected to be completed this year. Maivalley Hydropower is also operating a 9.98MW project.

    According to executive director of the project Santosh Kumar Pradhan, difficult work like tunnel construction was completed a year ago, while other tasks like headwork and power house construction are under way.

    Energy from the Rs 1.6 billion project will be supplied to Godak substation, 18.5 km away from the project.

    The power purchase agreement for a 5MW cascade project too has been completed and the construction work has begun.

    Likewise,  3MW Upper Puwa Hydropower project, being developed by Joshi Hydropower and Development Company, in Puwamjhuwa and Maipokari has almost completed. The company has also started an 8MW project in Rajduwali.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post