May 29, 2017-
The length of electricity transmission lines in the country has reached 3,205 circuit kilometres as of the first eight months of the fiscal year, the Economy Survey says.
There were 2,849 circuit kilometres of power lines till mid-March 2016, and another 355 circuit kilometres were added in the following year, according to the report presented to Parliament on Thursday.
The massive expansion of transmission lines was made possible due to the completion of the 35-km double circuit Damak-Godak and 75-km single circuit Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission lines besides the upgradation of the 208-km Butwal-Kohalpur transmission line from single circuit to double circuit.
Although the expansion of power lines by 355 km in one year looks impressive, the addition of 208 km was a result of upgradation.
“As most of the expansion is due to upgradation, it is not a satisfactory result,” said Rajeev Sharma, head of the Transmission Line Department at the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
“When upgrading from single circuit to double circuit, we don’t have to construct new towers or secure easement rights from private landowners. We only have to string electric cables on the existing towers.” Difficulties in securing easement rights have been one of the major hindrances to the development of transmission lines, according to Sharma.
An easement allows electricity companies to erect and maintain transmission lines on land belonging to property owners who still own it.
Currently, the construction of transmission lines like the 132 kV Thankot-Chapagaun, 220 kV Bharatpur-Bardaghat, 132 kV Kabeli Corridor, 132 kV second circuit of Middle and Lower Marshyangdi and 400 kV Tamakoshi-Kathmandu has stalled as the NEA has not been able to obtain utility easements to erect towers and install power cables. Project developers generally pay 10 percent of the land’s value to owners for the right to run transmission lines through a portion of their property.
A majority of landowners hosting power lines have demanded that the compensation amount be raised to 50-90 percent of the land value. Some have even demanded complete transfer of land ownership and compensation amounting to 100 percent of the land value.
Although Nepal is on track to achieving energy sufficiency with the total installed capacity of its hydropower projects expected to exceed 2,000 MW in the next three years, lack of adequate transmission lines is likely to hinder evacuation and distribution of the generated electricity.
Despite unsatisfactory performance on the transmission line front, the installed capacity has increased, and 105.3 MW of electricity has been added to the national grid as of the first eight months of the fiscal year.
During the same period last year, hydropower projects with a total installed capacity of 18.5 MW were completed and connected to the national grid.
Source: The Kathmandu Post