Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility, will conduct tests on the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line beginning Friday, commencing operation of the biggest Nepal-India transmission line project.
Once the test phase is over, Nepal is expected to import additional 80 megawatts of electricity using the 400kV double-circuit transmission line, construction of which began as early as 2007.
“The cable installation work on Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission corridor will be complete by tomorrow,” NEA Managing Director Mukesh Raj Kafle told The Himalayan Times. “We are planning to charge the line on Friday to conduct the tests.” India had charged the line on January 30.
If the tests are successful, NEA will begin importing additional 80MW of electricity from February 16. Import of additional power will significantly aid Nepal, which is currently facing power cuts of over 14 hours per day.
“Currently, we are negotiating on price of electricity that we intend to bring in. Once negotiations are over, India will start supplying electricity,” Kafle said.
Earlier, NEA had entered into ‘take or pay’ power purchase deal with PTC India Ltd to import electricity using Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line. Under the agreement, Nepal was obliged to purchase electricity from the Indian company beginning July last year whether it wanted to or not.
“But now we have agreed to bring that pact into effect after we start charging the line at a capacity of 220kv,” Kafle said. The line is initially being charged at 132kV.
Kafle said NEA was supposed to purchase electricity from PTC India at a flat rate of INR 3.44 (Rs 5.504) per unit.
“Until eight or 10 days ago, the Indian side was positive about supplying us electricity at that rate. But now it has appointed another nodal agency to supply electricity to Nepal. And the tariff imposed by the new agency is higher than that proposed by the previous company,” Kafle said, adding, “The Ministry of Energy is currently holding talks on the matter with the Indian side. We will start importing electricity once the negotiations are over.”
Although the transmission line, which extends from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India, can resist capacity of up to 400kV, it is not being used at full capacity at present because of infrastructural constraints on both sides of the border.
Infrastructure on the Indian side, for instance, can only handle load of up to 220kV, while infrastructure on the Nepali side can resist capacity of up to 132kV.
NEA is expected to upgrade the capacity of the line to 220kV in the next five to six months. After this upgradation, Nepal can import additional 200MW of electricity from India.
Ultimately, the line will be charged at full capacity of 400kV. After this, Nepal can import 600MW of electricity from India.
The line is expected to be charged at full capacity by September 2017.
Source : The Himalayan Times.