Kulekhani II Hydropower Project resumes partial operations

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    KATHMANDU, MAY 31 –

    kulekhani damaged transformersThe Kulekhani Hydropower Project II resumed partial operations from Thursday after having remained shut for the last one and a half months. The 32 MW project located in Hetauda was put out of commission after three of its transformers were damaged by a blaze on the night of April 16.

    The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) that owns and operates the reservoir project said that it began producing power again from 12:30 pm on Thursday after a 10 mpA transformer acquired from the Gandak Hydropower Project was installed to replace the damaged transformers.

    “With the installation of a transformer having a capacity of 10 mpA, the project can generate only 10 MW of energy,” said Krishna Prashad Yadav, project chief of Kulekhani II I. The three damaged transformers had a capacity of 12 mpA each.

    Though the project had brought the transformer from the Gandak Project at the end of April, it could not be installed immediately as it needed to be reconditioned. The Kulekhani project has been criticized for bringing the transformer without testing it first.

    Project officials said the three damaged transformers could be brought back to operation within a month. Yadav said the maintenance work would be given to Nepal Ekarat Engineering Company. “We will sign an agreement with the company within a couple of days.” As per the tender document, the company will have to fix the transformer within a month.

    The transformers imported from Korea were installed in 1985 and had been in continuous operation for the last 28 years. Takaoka Engineer of Japan after conducting a technical study of the project’s transformer in March 2010 said that as the transformers had been operated for a longer period than their designed lifespan, they either needed to be repaired completely or changed.

    The project officials also said that the project would have a new transformer within five months at the most. The NEA signed a tender contract with Nepal Hydro and Electric Company in the first week of April to bring new transformers.

    Meanwhile, the project office has clarified that the project has not lost any amount of energy during the period it was out of operation. “As this is a reservoir project and reserved water has not been spilled during the period, the project has not lost any amount of energy without use,” added Yadav, “Once the project comes to full capacity, we will make maximum utilization of the collected water.”

    A study committee formed to probe the cause of the fire at the project had concluded that it was due to pure technical reasons and that there was no human error. As per the study report submitted to the Energy Ministry three weeks ago, the fire broke out as the transformers had been used beyond their lifespan. The committee had suspected that lightning had hit the transformers and damaged them.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post