Aug 17, 2018-
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has announced that more than 750 MW will be added to the national grid within this fiscal year. According to the state-owned power utility, about half a dozen hydropower projects being developed by its subsidiary and independent power producers will be completed this fiscal year ending mid-July 2019.
The hydropower plants that are slated to come online are the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi, 40 MW Khani Khola-I, 27 MW Dordi Khola, 25 MW Upper Dordi A, 23.5 MW Solu Khola, 25 MW Kabeli B-I, 22.2 MW Upper Chaku A and 22 MW Bagmati Khola Small, among others.
The combined installed capacity of these schemes exceeds 1,850 MW. The hydro projects currently operating in the country have a total installed capacity of around 1,100 MW. Once the hydropower plants nearing completion start churning out energy, the country will not need to import power from India anymore.
Nepal doesn’t need to buy electricity from India during the wet season that lasts from June to November, according to Prabal Adhikari, chief of the power trading department and NEA spokesperson.
Despite the vast hydropower potential, Nepal suffers from an acute power shortage. Currently, the NEA imports more than 300 MW of electricity from India via more than a dozen cross-border transmission lines during peak hour to meet national demand.
Whether electricity generation will be significantly increased this fiscal year as claimed by the NEA will largely depend on the progress of construction work at the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project being developed by its subsidiary. Although the NEA is planning to complete the construction of the first unit of the 456 MW plant by December and the remaining five units by April 2019, it is likely to miss its completion deadline as the Indian contractor assigned to execute the hydro-mechanical works has been working very slowly.
As part of the hydro-mechanical works, the Indian company needs to build gates at the intake of the dam and fit the penstock pipe in the tunnel. Although the contractor is constructing the gates at the intake, it is yet to start installing the penstock pipes. The penstock pipes deliver water from the dam into the turbines in the powerhouse to generate electricity. The NEA has been putting pressure on the Indian contractor to speed up construction, but its performance has not improved.
Source: The Kathmandu Post