HETAUDA, APR 24 –
Kulekhani Hydropower Project II, which has been shut down for the past week due to a fire, plans to resume production within the next 10 days. Energy generation at the hydropower plant was stopped after three of its transformers were damaged by a blaze on the night of April 16.
Technicians from the Nepal Electrical Authority (NEA)’s central office and Kulekhani I and II projects have been working on a rush schedule to repair the damaged equipment.
Meanwhile, Kulekhani II will be getting a transformer from the Gandak Hydropower Project to allow it to come back online soon as repairs could take another month. Project chief of Kulekhani II Krishna Prasad Yadav said a team of technicians left for the Gandak project on Monday to bring the transformer. According to him, the equipment is expected to arrive at the project site in Bhainse by Wednesday evening.
As per the technicians, they will require more time to fix the transformers. The three damaged transformers have a capacity of 12 mpA each while the replacement from the Gandak project has a capacity of 10 mpA.
The transformer is being rented from the Gandak project under the coordination of the NEA. Officials said the idea is to prevent load-shedding hours from possibly increasing with Kulekhani II out of action.
Two of the three wrecked transformers have been sent to the NEA’s main workshop in Hetauda while the third one is being repaired at the powerhouse of the project. According to Yadav, the repair work may be finished within the next one month.
After the transformers went kaput, electricity supply in the national grid has been reduced by 32 MW. Kulekhani II uses the spent water flows from the Kulekhani I. Due to the closure of Kulekhani II, the spent water from Kulekhani I is being released into the river directly. The NEA is thinking of shutting down Kulekhani I until Kulekhani II is back in operation. It said shutting down Kulekhani I would save water in the reservoir.
The transformers caught fire after a surge in the voltage in the device connecting the transformers to the transmission line. The South Korean-made transformers were installed when Kulekhani II was built in 1986. The project has a capacity of 32 MW.
Meanwhile, the diesel plant at Hetauda is being operated for 10 hours daily after the fire at Kulekhani II. Previously, it used to run for 4 hours daily.