Kathmandu, February 14
A three-member delegation of NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), a wholly owned subsidiary of India’s state-owned NTPC, arrived here today to sign power trade agreement with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on supply of electricity.
State-owned NEA is purchasing up to 80 megawatts of electricity from NVVN. If things go according to plan, NEA will start importing the electricity using the newly built Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line from February 18, a day before Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s proposed visit to India.
NVVN has agreed to sell electricity to NEA, round the clock, at INR 3.44 (Rs 5.504) per unit.
“Although the tariff has been fixed, we are still working on other details. So, we couldn’t sign the deal today,” a senior NEA official told The Himalayan Times. “We are planning to sort out all outstanding issues by tomorrow and seal the pact.”
Once the deal is signed, NEA management will have to get an approval from its board of directors to implement the pact.
Upon extension of the green signal, NEA will start importing additional quantum of electricity from India. NEA is currently importing around 250MW of electricity from the southern neighbour.
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,” the 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 because power generation from domestic hydropower projects is gradually declining due to lack of water in rivers 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 NEA 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.
“Although the construction of this line is complete, we still need to conduct few tests prior to importing around 80MW of electricity from India,” the official said. “We intend to complete all these tests soon.”
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.
A version of this article appears in print on February 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.
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