String of disasters curtail Upper Bhotekoshi’s capacity

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    July 8: The Bhotekoshi River flowed over Upper Bhotekoshi Hydropower dam following the Tuesday’ flash flood in the river.

    Two large boulders have blocked the spillway gates and floodwaters entered the power generation plant. According to preliminary information, a landslide at a place between Khasa and Nyalum of Tibet on Tuesday night dammed up the river and the flash flood was caused after the blockage gave way.

    Turbines and other machineries recently fitted at the powerhouse have again submerged in water and the power house is in a string of disasters and this is the third time it suffered damages since August 2 2014. The 45 MW plant has been important source of electricity for the power-strapped country.

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    Talking with Republica, Narendra Prajapati, general manager of Bhotekoshi Power Company Limited, said the incident was another set back to the power house that has gone through several unfortunate episodes in the recent past.

    “The wall on the right side of the dissenting basin of dam has collapsed and the spillway gates remain blocked by big boulders, rocks and mud,” said Prajapati.

    Prajapati further said, “We were in the last phase of repairing the damage to the penstock pipes and power house by the earthquake-induced landslides of last year. And now another disaster has struck the plant.” The company’s officials are yet to make complete assessment of the damage.

    They blamed the delay in restoring the power plant on the slow pace of repairing the road that led to the power house and the Indian blockade.

    As per plant officials, if the power house remains unoperational for a year, it loses about 236 GWh of energy, which translates into US $30 million in monetary terms.

    Earlier, the company’s energy evacuation was affected as its transmission towers were swept away by the Jure landslide in August 2014 and evacuation was disturbed for about five months as locals and political leaders prevented repair works of the transmission line demanding shares in the company.

    Hydropower developers have now realized the importance of making disaster resilience power plants to minimize the risks on their investments.

    The plant had been built between 1997 to 2000, becoming one of the few major undertaking drawing a huge foreign investments from the US.

    Source : Republica