Heavy flooding hinders electricity generationMassive flooding caused by heavy rain last week has severely hit electricity generation at state-owned and private hydropower projects.
Massive flooding caused by heavy rain last week has severely hit electricity generation at state-owned and private hydropower projects.
Power generation has been slashed by almost 100 MW as debris swept down by swollen rivers choked the water intake and reduced water flow into the turbines at various projects.
The national grid has lost around 50 MW of electricity from private hydropower projects.
The 25 MW Upper Madi, 10 MW Lower Modi-1 and 3 MW Chaku Khola hydropower projects have been seriously affected by floods, according to state-owned power utility Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
Floods have also hit electricity generation by NEA-owned projects. The most severely affected NEA project is the 144 MW Kali Gandaki-A Hydropower Project where output has dropped by 44 MW.
“Kali Gandaki-A should return to full capacity in a few days,” said Dipak Dhital, deputy manager at the NEA’s Load Dispatch Centre. “However, it is producing only around 100 MW currently.”
The NEA-owned project has not been able to generate more than 100 MW from early Monday morning. “At one point, output rose to 110 MW, but it fell again to 100 MW,” said Dhital.
“A large amount of debris carried down by the Gandaki River where the hydropower plant is situated has choked the water intake and reduced the flow of water into the plant’s three turbines.”
If output does not return to normal, it will seriously affect the supply of energy by the NEA as it is the largest project in operation. Moreover, Kali Gandaki-A is of strategic importance as it is located close to major load centres.
The drop in output at Kali Gandaki-A is temporary, according to the NEA. “This is a temporary phenomenon that happens every year when the monsoon is at its peak,” said Dhital. “As soon as the flood in the Gandaki River subsides, the debris clogging the intake will be cleared and water flow to the turbines will be restored.”
Currently, the NEA is more concerned about privately owned hydropower plants. “We do not know the exact scale of damage done by the flood to private projects,” said Dhital. “If output does not return to previous levels for a long time, we might have to cut power supply to consumers.” However, Dhital said that the NEA would not cut power supply to the Kathmandu Valley. “If we have to slash supply, our first target will be areas where there is high leakage,” he said.