Upper Trishuli nearly complete, but power line nowhere in sight

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    Trishuli-3A_intakeKATHMANDU, FEB 18 – The Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project could find itself in a fix with nowhere to send electricity to when it comes online as there has been little progress in the construction of a transmission line.

    The 60 MW plant is expected to start generating energy within a year, and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) says the construction of the transmission line hasn’t even started. The proposed 220 kV overhead power line linking the powerhouse with the NEA’s substation in Matatirtha will be 46 km long.

    Problems like land acquisition, forest clearance and protest from locals over a number of issues have affected the commissioning of the transmission line project, according to the NEA. Along with the overhead power line, a 220 kV underground cable route about 1 km in length will also be built.

    “Going by the pace of progress at the Trishuli 3A project, it is certain to be completed within the next one year. The powerhouse will be ready for energy evacuation by then,” said Mukesh Kafle, managing director of the NEA. “However, the completion of the project will have no big significance if the transmission line is not completed by that time.”

    The NEA boss described the transmission line project as being one of the most problematic projects for the NEA. The state-owned power utility is constructing both the hydropower project and the transmission line.

    Although the construction of the hydropower project was delayed by more than three years, the NEA failed to complete the transmission line which should have been erected much earlier as per the initial target for the project’s completion.

    The NEA extended the contract deadline for the construction of the project until June 30, 2016. Originally, the project was slated for completion by June 30, 2011.

    “At a time when the country is going through a severe power crisis, the wastage of 60 MW of power will mean a huge misfortune,” said Kafle. “There will also be a commercial loss of millions of rupees for the state-owned power utility.”

    The NEA is of the view that it can still complete the transmission line within one to one and a half years if the government provides the necessary support. “Support in terms of forest clearance, playing a constructive role to narrow the differences at the local level and providing security to the project,” Kafle said.

    The Upper Trishuli 3A project is a run-of-the-river hydropower project located in Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts. Its construction began in fiscal year 2010-11 and has been financed by a soft loan from China Exim Bank. The project is expected to improve the power supply in theKathmandu valley.

    Apart from this, two other projects, the 30 MW Chameliya and 14 MW Kulekhani III, are likely to be completed within a year.

    Both the projects are being developed by the NEA. “If things move at the current pace and unforeseen situations do not arise, the projects will be ready within a year,” Kafle said.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post