Nepal to Export 370 MW of Electricity to India through Low-Capacity Transmission Lines

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Nepal plans to export 370 megawatt (MW) of electricity to India through low-capacity transmission lines besides the existing only high-capacity 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur line as other under-construction high-capacity transmission lines have not been completed.

Nepal can export a maximum of 1,000 MW through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross-Border Transmission and the two countries had agreed to transmit a maximum 800 MW during the Secretary-level Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting held in the western Indian state of Rajasthan in February. But so far, the southern neighbour has allowed Nepal to export only up to 452.6 MW generated by its 10 hydropower projects.

During the JSC meeting, the two countries had also agreed to explore other small capacity cross power lines for the cross-border trading of electricity. Currently, there are 11 lower capacity cross-border power lines between the two neighbours.

“We proposed to export around 70 MW through the 32 kV Mahendranagar-Tanakpur Transmission line,” said Prabal Adhikari, power trade director at the state-owned utility Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

So far, Nepal is using this cross-border transmission line only to import power from the southern neighbour. During the last JSC meeting, the two sides agreed to conduct trading of 70 MW-80 MW through this power line.

Nepal has also proposed two projects—40 MW Upper Chameliya Hydropower Project (UCHP) and 38.4 MW Upper Kalanga Gadh Hydroelectric Project to the southern neighbour for its approval.

Both projects were developed by the private sector. “We have not yet received India’s approval for them,” said Adhikari.

Likewise, on June 28, the NEA and PTC India Ltd signed an agreement to sell 300 MW of electricity to India by using existing lower capacity cross-border transmission lines connected with the eastern Indian state of Bihar and the internal power line of Bihar.

There are four 132kV cross-border transmission lines connecting Nepal and Bihar state, excluding the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur line. These lines are being used only for the exchange of power between Nepal and Bihar, according to the NEA.

Under the arrangement, whenever Nepal needs power from India, it can import it from the Indian state and when Bihar needs some power, it can take it from Nepal. Adhikari had earlier told the Post that these transmission lines will be used for trading of power for the first time, if Nepal’s proposal is accepted.

“Work on identifying projects to be proposed for the purpose is undergoing. We will be sending projects on a rolling basis,” he added.

Given the presence of only 400kV cross-border lines currently, the two sides in February had agreed to order a Joint Technical Team to explore ways to export up to 200 MW of electricity to India from Nepal.

The Joint Technical Team was also ordered to conduct a study on the trading of power through the under-construction Dhalkebar-Sitamarhi cross-border power line being constructed by SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company.

Four 400kV cross-border power lines are in the pipeline with one being constructed by the SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company expected to be completed later this year.

“Once the approval is received from the Indian side, the 132kV line will be continued for cross-border use even after new 400 kV lines are built,” Adhikari said. “The 132 kV lines with Bihar have a locational advantage for export purposes.”

As Nepal’s electricity generation capacity is growing, lack of more high-capacity cross-border power lines has emerged as a major stumbling block in enabling Nepal export power on a large scale.

According to the NEA, the generation capacity of the country has already crossed 2,700 MW, but the national peak demand on Saturday was only 1,818 MW.

Nepal has been facing a problem of power spillage, mainly during the wet season and the country has been negotiating with India’s top political leadership to allow it to export more electricity to the southern neighbour.

On June 1, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a joint press conference alongside the visiting Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced that “we have set a target of importing 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal in the coming 10 years.”

Source : The Kathmandu Post (Prithvi Man Shrestha)