Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will officially import up to 80 megawatts of electricity from India beginning Saturday, commencing commercial operation of the biggest cross-border transmission line project.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will switch on the transmission line using a remote control from Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday to inaugurate Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line and supply electricity to Nepal, Energy Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma told The Himalayan Times.
Although the state-owned power utility had earlier said it would import the power beginning today, it had not been able to do so due to delay in carrying out all the tests on the brand new transmission line, construction of which began as
early as January 2007.
“We started conducting tests from yesterday by bringing in 5MW to 15MW of electricity. So far, everything seems fine,” a senior NEA official told The Himalayan Times on condition of anonymity.
“We will now have to conduct the test by importing whole 80MW of electricity. We will start this test this evening.”
Earlier on Monday, NEA Managing Director Mukesh Raj Kafle and General Manager of India’s state-owned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), AK Maggu, had signed an agreement on supply of power to Nepal in Kathmandu.
As per the agreement, NVVN will sell electricity to NEA, round the clock, at INR 3.44 (Rs 5.504) per unit.
The additional supply of power will largely benefit eastern parts of the country. This, in turn, will allow NEA to divert power being supplied from Hetauda to eastern parts of the country towards Kathmandu.
“This will moderately reduce load-shedding hours in Kathmandu,” another NEA official said. Kathmandu currently faces power cuts of over 14 hours per day.
The additional supply of electricity is not expected to drastically reduce load-shedding hours in the Capital because power generation from domestic hydropower projects is gradually declining, as water level in most of the rivers is falling during winter.
“Hydropower projects owned by NEA are currently generating around 210MW to 215MW of electricity, while power generated by projects owned by independent power producers has fallen below 100MW,” the official said.
Installed capacity of hydroelectric projects in Nepal currently stands at around 762MW. But power generation falls drastically during winter because most of the electricity in the country is produced through run-of-the-river projects.
But Nepal can drastically reduce load-shedding hours next winter if it is able to upgrade the capacity of Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line.
The 140-km Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line project, which extends from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in
India, can handle capacity of up to 400kV.
But the biggest cross-border transmission line, whose construction has just completed, is initially being charged at 132kV.
NEA plans to upgrade the capacity of the line to 220kV in the next five to six months. After this upgradation, Nepal can import additional 200MW of electricity from India.
Ultimately, the line will be charged at full capacity of 400kV. After this, Nepal can import 600MW of electricity from India.
The line is expected to be charged at full capacity by September 2017.