One of two units of Kulekhani 1 hydropower project goes kaput

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    Kulekhani ReservoirKATHMANDU: One of the two units of Kulekhani 1 — the only reservoir type hydroelectric power station in the country — has gone dysfunctional for the last three days after a short-circuit in a cable. Officials at the Nepal Electricity Authority said it will take at least a week to repair the cable as technicians have to arrive from India for which a request has already been placed.

    The 60-MW project is now only producing electricity half of its capacity.

    Officials said even if the technicians arrived from India and repaired the cable, it would be a temporary work. “The cable needs to be replaced and it could take months,” said sources. This is the second time in the last four months that power generation has come down to half due to similar problems.

    The powerhouse, which was designed as a peaking power plant, has also been supporting as emergency stand-by station, and reduced power generation from it could pose a major challenge to load dispatch centre, resulting in unexpected power cuts. But deputy chief of NEA’s Load Dispatch Centre, Prachet Kumar Shrestha, told this daily that they are facing no problem as such as another unit is fully functioning and that it is enough to maintain the current power schedule. “Recent rainfall has fed the rivers, so we are not facing that much of problem, but the unit must be repaired at the earliest,” he said. Sources, however, said the dysfunctional unit has raised fears of possible power cut problems. “What if any other powerhouse faces any kind of problem before the Kulekhani unit is repaired?” they wondered.

    Asked when it will be repaired, NEA Spokesperson Sher Sing Bhat asked asked this daily to contact General Manager of Generation Department Mahendra Lal Shrestha, who did not pick up his phone despite repeated attempts.

    Source : The Himalayan Times