Power Surge: The Evolution of the Inaruwa Substation

Nepal has added a new, highly significant transmission project to its power sector with the formal inauguration of the 400 kV Inaruwa Substation, Nepal’s second largest substation. Although the construction of the 400 kV line from Inaruwa to Hetauda has faced several obstacles and is not yet complete, the operation of this substation is important to maintain power supply in the eastern part of the region. Once the 400 kV, which has recently made progress in construction, is completed, this substation will be a game changer. As NEA Managing Director Kul Man Ghising has publicly stated that his second term will be to strengthen and expand transmission and distribution, the inauguration of the Inaruwa Substation by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is of great significance.

Inaruwa Substation was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. Inaruwa Substation is considered as one of the important projects to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system.

Prime Minister Prachanda inaugurated the 400 kV capacity Inaruwa Substation built in Bhokraha Narsingh Rural Municipality – 4 of Sunsari to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system in the country.

With the inauguration of Inaruwa 400 kV substation and the recent inauguration of 200 kV transmission line, Nepal is entering a new era of power transmission and generation. Dependent on 132 kV transmission line for power transmission for decades, Nepal’s power sector remains unreliable and inadequate,

But now things have started to change. As the generation capacity of Nepal has reached close to 2700 MW, Nepal cannot depend on 132 kV and expansion of higher voltage transmission line is imperative.

After the completion of the country’s second largest substation based on Gas Insulated System (GIS) in the second week of October, the power starved eastern region and industrial corridor has got great relief.

Inaruwa Substation, which cost 4 billion, is Nepal’s second largest 400 kV capacities based on Gas Insulated System (GIS), will now change the country’s capacity of export and import as well.

Two substations of 4000 and 220 kV have been constructed in Inaruwa. Under the National Electricity Development Decade Program, a 400 KV substation has been constructed from Hetaunda, Dhalkebar Inruva 400 KV Substation Expansion Project with the joint investment of Nepal Government and Nepal Electricity Authority.

A substation of 220/132/33 KV was constructed under the Nepal-India Electricity Transmission and Trade Project with the investment of the Government and the Authority and the concessional full loan from the World Bank. The cost of 400 and 200 kV substations is about three billion 83 million rupees.

The 400/220 kV Inaruwa Substation was constructed as part of the Hetaunda-Dhalkebar-Inaruaw 400 kV Substation Expansion Project. It has three power transformers with a capacity of 315 MVA. Its capacity is 945 MVA. Similarly, there are two power transformers of 220/132 kV, 160 MVA capacity and 220/33 KV, 63 MVA capacity.

After the construction of Inaruwa-Dhalkebar 400 kV transmission line is completed, about 4000 megawatts of electricity can be exchanged from Inaruwa substation. The Inaruwa-Dhalkebar transmission line is currently under construction.

In addition, arrangements have been made for local power supply from substations through 132 and 33 kV transmission and distribution lines. The substation has been constructed in such a way that it can be further expanded as required in the future.

The power generated from the hydropower projects constructed/to be constructed on the Arun and Tamor rivers and their tributaries will be transmitted to the Inruva substation through the Koshi Corridor 220 kV transmission line.

The construction of the Inruwa-Basantapur-Tumlingtar section of the Koshi Corridor has been completed while the Basantapur-Dhungesanghu section is under construction. Similarly, the Tumlingtar-Shetalpati 220 kV transmission line project is under construction. Construction of Arun Hub-Inaruwa 400 KV transmission line has been proposed.

In 2075, a contract was signed with the Indian company Siemens Limited for the construction of Inaruwa 400 kV substation. In 2075, a contract was signed with a consortium of Indian companies Siemens and Telmos for the construction of a 220 kV substation. In addition, in November 2077, a contract for the supply and installation of 220/132 kV transformers was signed with the Indian company TBEA Energy.

The design and construction supervision of the 400 kV substations was carried out by NEA Engineering Company. The consultants for the 220 kV substations were Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and NEA Engineering Company.

PM Prachanda:

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Prachanda said that the inauguration of the substation, which is capable of supplying about 4,000 megawatts of electricity, has set the stage for improving the quality and reliability of power transmission and distribution in the region and has added a new chapter to the success story of the government’s Bright and Prosperous Nepal Program.

He said that the completion of the construction of such large scale infrastructure has given a message of hope when there is only cultivation and talk of despair because there is nothing in the country.

Prime Minister Prachanda expressed his belief that in addition to supplying power to the national transmission system through the substation, the voltage of the region will be improved and the power supply will be reliable and of good quality.

Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’ said that all preparations have been made to declare the country fully electrified within the next one to one and a half years.

“Nepal’s energy sector is taking a step forward with the leadership of the Government of Nepal, the plan of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), and the support and cooperation of the people of Nepal. Encouraging work is being done with the plan of power generation, transmission and distribution not only to light up the houses and settlements but also to achieve prosperity and make the country itself bright,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, the government under his leadership has freed the people from the terrible time of darkness due to load shedding in the past and has continued the journey towards a bright Nepal.

He added that a few days ago, the government received from the Council of Ministers the Action Plan for Increasing Electricity Consumption in order to consume the electricity produced in the country in the country itself. According to him, this action plan has provided broader guidelines for increasing electricity consumption.

“It is a matter of happiness that more than 15 billion rupees will be earned and deposited in the national exchequer by exporting the surplus power to India after consuming it in the country. A country like ours with immense potential for hydropower development would benefit greatly as the participating nations are ready to put into practice the zero carbon emission policy by promoting renewable energy. We should pay special attention to this,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister said he was pleased to inaugurate the Inaruwa Automatic Substation – the second largest substation in the country – equipped with GIS technology for power trading with India and Bangladesh and for providing reliable and quality power by consolidating the power transmission and distribution system.

Prime Minister Prachanda mentioned that the Inaruwa Substation would act as the backbone for sub-regional and regional power trade, not only to feed the power generated from the Arun and Tamor rivers and their tributaries into the national transmission grid and the East-West power line, but also to enhance bilateral power trade between Nepal and India.

Prime Minister Prachanda expressed his belief that the voltage problems faced by the people of the area would be improved, thereby ensuring reliable power supply. He further said, “Around 98 percent of the population has access to electricity. All preparations have been made to announce the complete electrification of the country within the next one to one and a half years. This golden day is coming soon.”

Clarifying that high-capacity transmission lines are now being constructed to connect East-West and North-South, he said that the expansion and strengthening of the power distribution system has been launched as a nationwide campaign for reliable, adequate and safe power supply and billions of rupees have been invested in this regard.

During his visit to China, an agreement was reached for the construction of the Chilime-Kerung transmission line and a tripartite agreement was reached among Nepal, India and Bangladesh to export Nepal’s green clean energy to Bangladesh, he opined.

He claimed that Nepal effectively and objectively drew the attention of the international community to the agenda raised by Nepal in the recently held 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

“Our country, which has immense hydropower potential, would greatly benefit as the participating countries in the COP28 were ready to practically implement the zero carbon emission policy by promoting the use of renewable energy,” the Prime Minister said.

He promised an early decision on issues related to the construction of transmission lines, including the use of forest land, tree felling and land acquisition.

Mega projects in the offing

Prime Minister Prachanda informed that the construction process of various mega projects in Koshi Province was about to begin. According to him, preparations were underway to implement the 1,061 megawatt Upper Arun Hydropower Project and the 635 megawatt Dudhkoshi Reservoir-based Hydropower Project after raising investments.

These projects would be implemented under the guidance of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development among others to ensure public investment.

Prime Minister Prachanda informed that the government has decided to allow NEA to prepare a detailed project report and investment proposal for the 10,800 megawatt Karnali.

In addition, the 1,200-megawatt Budhi Gandaki Reservoir-based hydropower project has been advanced by arranging funds, the prime minister said, expressing hope that Nepal will continue on its path of prosperity.

Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Shakti Bahadur Basnet has said that the country has moved forward on the path of prosperity through the energy sector.

Speaking at a program organized to inaugurate the 400kV Inaruwa Substation in Sunsari, Minister Basnet mentioned that the generation of more than 500MW of electricity in one year has proved that the country is moving towards progress.

Mentioning that there is a reliable base to produce around 30,000 MW of electricity within the next 10 years, he was of the view that additional legal arrangements are being made to address the issues of right of way in the construction of transmission lines and the demands of the locals.

Gopal Sigdel, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, said the substation would be a milestone in the country’s power consumption and export.

Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, said that in the past 78 years of hydropower development in Nepal, only 150 megawatts of electricity had been produced, but the current addition of 500 megawatts of electricity in one year confirms the country’s progress.

Mentioning that there is a reliable base that can produce about 30,000 megawatts of electricity within the next ten years, Minister Basnet said that additional legal arrangements are being made to address the right-of-way issues and the demands of the locals in the construction of transmission lines.

MD Ghising

Kulman Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority, said: “The Inaruwa Substation is a backbone for transmission of electricity generated by hydropower projects in various districts of Koshi Province for local consumption and export to India.

He informed that in addition to the flow of electricity in the national transmission system through the substation, local supply will also be done. He also informed that Inruva-Purnia 400 kV international transmission line and Inruva-Anarmani 400 kV transmission line for trade between Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been proposed from this substation.

The next substation of 220/132/33 kV has already been commissioned at Inaruwa. There are three power transformers of 315 MVA in 400/220 kV Inaruwa Substation constructed under the 400 kV Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa Substation Expansion Project. Approximately 4,000 MW of electricity would be transmitted from the Inaruwa substation upon completion of the 400 kV Inaruwa-Dhalkebar transmission line.

NEA Managing Director Ghising said that the Inaruwa Substation is the backbone for transmission of power generated from hydropower projects in various districts of Koshi Province for local consumption and export of surplus power to India.

MD Ghising said, “The power will be supplied locally in addition to the power flowing from the substation to the national grid. This will improve the voltage in the area and ensure reliable power supply”. Ghising further said that the Inaruwa-Purnia 400 kV cross-country transmission line has been proposed for power trade with India and the Inaruwa-Anarmani 400 kV transmission line has been proposed for trade between India and Bangladesh from this sub-station.

According to him, Inaruwa substation has become another huge power center to supply power from east to west within the country and export to India besides regional power trade.

In addition, the substation would provide significant additional power to industries within the Morang-Sunsari Industrial Corridor. The power generated from the Arun and Tamor rivers and their tributaries would be transmitted to the Inaruwa sub-station through the Koshi Corridor 220 KC transmission line.

It may be noted that there was a proposal to construct the Arun ‘Hub’ Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line. The authority stated that the Inaruwa substation has been constructed in such a way that it can be expanded in the future.

Various factors such as flooding, COVID-19 pandemic, prohibition orders, and lack of timely availability of tools and technicians, among others, had adversely affected the substation construction process.

Hetauda-Inaruwa 400kV transmission line under construction

With the completion of the Inaruwa substation, NEA is now focusing on completing the stalled work on the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line project. The project, which has been stalled for seven years in Lalbandi Municipality-12, Jiyajor of Sarlahi, has been progressing.

Work in the Jiyajor area had been stalled for seven years due to obstruction by the local people over the land compensation dispute. The foundations of eight towers remain to be dug at this site, while the foundations of three towers have already been laid.

After many discussions with the locals, the dispute over the compensation has not been resolved, and now security personnel have been deployed for the construction of the towers. Since last Wednesday, under the security of the Nepal Police and the Armed Police, the construction of the foundation of the tower is in full swing.

Shyam Kumar Yadav, chief of the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line project, said the work, which was stopped at the Jiyajor section, has moved forward. Under the Dhalkebar-Hetauda section of this transmission line, the work was stopped at Jiyajor in Sarlahi and Hatiya in Makwanpur due to obstruction by local people.

Among them, the work in Jiyajor area has progressed. The Nepal Electricity Authority has planned to complete the entire transmission line work within the next three months.

After the Nepal Electricity Authority started the work by deploying police, the locals went to the District Administration Office, Sarlahi, on Thursday and again demanded proper compensation.

Durga Bahadur Ale Magar, Ward Chairman of Lalbandi Ward-12, who reached the District Administration Office with the locals, said that attention has been drawn to address the demands of the residents.

The Ward Chairman said that they have demanded compensation for the acquisition of the land where the tower will be erected, along with compensation for the land occupied by the wires and also for the crops that will be damaged.

There has been no disturbance from the locals in the Jiyajor area for the past three days and the construction work is going on smoothly. The Chief District Officer of Sarlahi, Komal Prasad Dhamala, said that the work has progressed after explaining the benefits of the transmission line to the locals.

Source: Spotlight- Keshab Prasad Poudel