Nepal, China to discuss cross-border power line implementation

108

The two sides agreed to construct the 220kV Kerung-Rasuwagadhi-Chilime power line with a Chinese grant during Prime Minister Dahal’s China visit in September.

Nepal and China are set to discuss the implementation modality of the proposed 220kV Jilong/Kerung-Rasuwagadhi-Chilime Cross-Border Power Transmission line as the two sides engage to fix a joint mechanism meeting.

When Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal visited China in September, the two sides had signed an agreement that China would provide grants to construct the cross-border power line.

“The two sides will launch the construction of the Jilong/Kerung-Rasuwagadhi-Chilime 220kV Cross-Border Power Transmission line at an early date,” said the joint statement issued during the visit.

It would be the first-ever cross-border power line between the two neighbours even though Nepal has a dozen of such power lines with its southern neighbour—India. Nepali officials say that the transmission line with India would open the door to cross-border power trade with China, too.

“As the Chinese side agreed to provide a grant, there will be a discussion on how to utilise the Chinese grant when the two sides meet,” said Komal Nath Atreya, chief of the Ratmate-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung Transmission Line Project, who has also been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating with the Chinese side for constructing the proposed 220kV cross-border line. “There will be discussion on whether the northern neighbour will provide a grant through our bank accounts or it will make direct payment to the contractor.”

According to Atreya, two sides are discussing the date for the meeting of the Joint Working Group and the Joint Technical Working Group, which has the representatives of the NEA and the State Grid Corporation of China and works as a wing of the Working Group.

Another wing under the Joint Working Group is the Joint Commercial Group. “We had proposed a December meeting but it may not happen this month. The Chinese side has not suggested any date. But we are having a continuous discussion with them,” said Atreya.

Following the agreement for Beijing to fund the project, the energy ministry has instructed the NEA to do the homework for implementing the agreement, according to electricity authority officials.

China agreed to fund a 16-km section on Nepal’s side, apart from building the transmission line on their side, which is around 80km from the border, according to NEA officials.

“Besides working out an implementation modality, a fresh detailed project report and environment impact assessment should also be conducted,” Dirghayu Kumar Shrestha, chief of the transmission directorate at the NEA, told the Post in late September. “This may take around 3–4 years.”

Earlier, Nepal had proposed building the 400kV Ratmate-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung Cross-Border Transmission Line for electricity trade with China.

The NEA has already conducted a feasibility study for the project, whose proposed length is around 70km and can evacuate 5,000MW power. However, during the meeting of the Joint Working Group held in February, the Chinese side called for reducing the capacity of the power line to 220kV, and Nepal finally agreed.

Nepal is building a 220kV substation at the Chilime Hub, and the northern neighbour is also distributing power in its bordering areas with a 220kV line, an NEA official told the Post earlier. The official said that the Chinese side wanted to start with a low-capacity line so that the project could be developed as early as possible.

Source: The Kathmandu Post