Kulekhani reservoir not fully filled, load-shedding will not fall

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    KATHMANDU, Sept 21

    Kulekhani ReservoirLoad-shedding will not fall this winter as the reservoir of the only reservoir-based project in the country, Kulekhani, has not been fully filled this monsoon. The plan made by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is also set to be affected as a result.

    The water level is five meters below the upper limit due to lack of adequate rainfall in the vicinity of the reservoir this year. The reservoir of the project, that helps balance electricity supply during the winter, was completely filled in the past two years. NEA had planned to limit load-shedding to around 12-14 hours a day this year by importing more electricity from India, and operating the thermal plants at Hetauda and Biratnagar while counting on a full Kulekhani reservoir. It will face problems in limiting load-shedding now that the reservoir is not filled. The demand for electricity rises by around 8.5 percent annually and NEA has projected it to rise to 1,271 MW this winter.

    The Kulekhani reservoir is at an altitude of 1,530 meters above the sea level and is 45 meters deep. The water level had reached 1,525 meters by Saturday. The reservoir had filled completely last monsoon even though the water level was nine meters lower at the start of the monsoon that year. “There is lower chance of the reservoir being filled this year due to low rainfall in the vicinity of the reservoir,” Manager of the System Operation Department of NEA Bhuwan Kumar Chhetri said. “The reservoir has not been filled this year as the water flow in the river fell this year,” he reasoned.

    NEA has been operating Kulekhani only during the evening peak hours. The installed capacity of Kulekhani I is 60 MW, and that of Kulekhani II is 32 MW. Similarly, a third project is being constructed to generate 14 MW using the water discharged from the second. That will take the total installed capacity of Kulekhani to 106 MW. The area of the reservoir is 8.50 square kilometers. The current demand of electricity is 1,050 MW and NEA is supplying 750 MW including that imported from India. The country is facing daily power cuts of six hours as the national grid is still short by 350 MW. NEA had imported 170 MW from India this year and it plans to import 240 MW in the coming year. It has projected shortage of 7 million units of electricity during February, March and April.

    Source : Karobar Daily