New transmission line in offing

Kathmandu, March 9:

Following a green signal from World Bank (WB) for loan assistance, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is set to build a 70km long 220KV transmission line connecting Bharatpur and Hetauda.

NEA will borrow $35 million loan from the Power Development Fund (PDF), in which WB is a principal lender. The new transmission line will upgrade the existing 132KV line and is expected to be a boon for increased load flow with more projects commencing soon.

The loan assistance was a part of the WB’s support to the government under PDF to develop 30 MW Kabeli ‘A’ hydropower project, which is now being delayed for two years due to various technical reasons.

“The World Bank has agreed in principal to use the money in the fund for the Bharatpur-Hetauda transmission line,” said Uttar Kumar Shrestha, deputy general manager at the NEA. The Ministry of Water Resources has already sent a letter to the WB requesting for the use of money in PDF for the transmission line.

Krishna Gyawali, chief of foreign aid division at the Ministry of Finance, admitted that the World Bank has given its nod for the use of money in PDF to build the transmission line. “Only the formal agreement is yet to be signed,” he said.

The latest move comes in response to growing demand of power in central and eastern regions. The new transmission line will also help the state-owned power utility to ease

east-west flow of electricity, as more generation plants are concentrated in western regions.

The new transmission will have a double circuit line, which is capable for allowing power flow of more than 150MW, whereas the existing 132KV line has a capacity of 80-90MW. The new line will help bring power from the projects like Middle Marsyangdi, Upper Marsyangdi and Upper Seti, among others.

Following the loan approval, NEA will hire consultants and award the construction work through a global tender.

Once built, the new transmission line will be the second largest line after Khimti-Dhalkebar 220KV line, which is currently under construction.