Kulekhani III likely to commission power before Vijaya Dashami

Kathmandu, October 1

As per the revised plan, the 14-megawatt Kulekhani III cascade hydropower project is likely to be connected to the national grid before Vijaya Dashami. The project has already started test generation from first week of September.

“We plan to connect the project to the national grid within a week,” informed Kamal Acharya, project head of the Kulekhani III project.

As per him, the project has already completed all the necessary physical infrastructure works, including construction of substation and transmission line, and also installed wires that connect to the power house and the substation.

Acharya further said that the generated electricity will be connected to the Hetauda-Kulekhani transmission line. For the final test, a Chinese technical team will arrive tomorrow and will formally inaugurate the project.

The Kulekhani III hydropower project is located in Indrasarobar Rural Municipality in Makawanpur district.

As per the initial plan, the project was scheduled to start commissioning power from 2012, but the project was delayed due to continuous problems related to the contractor. Another problem that delayed the completion of the project was the frequent change in policy along with the change in the government.

The Kulekhani III project was mainly delayed due to dilly-dallying by Chinese construction company, Jheijian Jialin, which was awarded the contract to complete the electromechanical and hydromechanical works. The government had in recent times been applying due pressure on the contractor to complete its work on time.

Initially, the construction cost of the project was expected to hover around Rs 2.43 billion but after perennial delays, it has now escalated to around Rs five billion. Also, the initial projection had estimated production cost per megawatt power to stand at Rs 173.6 million. However, as per revised estimate, it is now expected to cost above Rs 310 million per megawatt.

At present, Kulekhani I reservoir project has been producing 60 megawatts of energy and Kulekhani II, a cascade hydro project, has been producing 32 megawatts of power. After the Kulekhani III project starts commissioning power, the Kulekhani reservoir project’s capacity will increase to 106 megawatts.