Nepal likely to import 220MW of electricity

Kathmandu, January 27

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility, may soon import up to 220 megawatts of additional electricity from India, which is likely to drastically reduce load-shedding hours in the country.

NEA has already laid the groundwork to import 80MW to 90MW of electricity using 400kV double-circuit Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line, the biggest Nepal-India transmission line project which is about to be completed soon.

“So far, works related to setting up of transmission towers have been completed. The only task left to be done is installation of cable on three to four kilometres of stretch. We hope to complete this work within the first week of February,” a senior NEA official said.

Once this is done, tests will be conducted. “If things go according to plan, we will start importing 80MW to 90MW of electricity beginning mid-February,” the official added.

To import this power, 100 mega-volt amperes (MVA) of transformer has been installed on the Indian side and necessary arrangements have also been made in Nepal.

The 140-km transmission line, which extends from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India, can transport up to 2,000MW of electricity when lines are charged at full capacity of 400kV. This will help the country to bridge the power deficit, especially in eastern region, and sell power when there is a surplus.

But initially the cable will not be charged at full capacity.

“For a certain period, transmission (from India) will take place at 132kV. Also, only one of the two circuits will initially be used to import electricity,” the official said, adding, “Very soon, we are planning to use another circuit as well to import additional electricity.”

Once another circuit is used, NEA can import 120MW to 130MW of additional electricity from India.

“For this, we have requested the Indian supplier to install transformer of 160MVA on the Indian side,” the NEA official said. “We hope they will take our request positively.”

This issue will be raised during a high-level meeting between Nepal and India, which is scheduled to take place in the Capital on Thursday and Friday.

Nepal is currently importing around 250MW of electricity from India. To get this supply, around 13 cross-border transmission lines — three of 132kV and the remaining of 33kV — are being used.

Nepal and India began building Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur project after the need for a higher voltage cross-border transmission line was felt.

Although the process of building Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line began as early as January 2007, works could not proceed ahead smoothly due to a range of problems, including bureaucratic red tape.

The works related to construction of the transmission line in Nepali side are being overseen by Power Transmission Company Nepal, which is a joint venture between NEA, Hydroelectric Investment and Development Company of India, Power Grid Corporation of India and Indian firm IL&FS.

Works in Indian side, on the other hand, are being implemented by Cross-border Power Transmission Company, a joint venture in which NEA has 10 per cent stake.