Deuba, Modi launch two cross-border power linesCross-border electricity trade between Nepal and India got a major boost with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurating two transmission lines on Thursday, making it possible to import another 100 MW from the southern neighbour.
Cross-border electricity trade between Nepal and India got a major boost with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurating two transmission lines on Thursday, making it possible to import another 100 MW from the southern neighbour.
Modi and Deuba remote-launched the newly built 132 kV Kataiya-Kushaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur power lines, each of which can transmit 50 MW. With the new lines in place, Nepal’s capacity to import electricity has increased from 380 MW to 480 MW.
The two transmission lines were completed in March 2017, and Nepal had requested India to supply another 100 MW through them. However, before India agreed to the proposal, Nepal’s power generation increased following the start of the monsoon, and it did not have to import extra energy.
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will not start importing power through the new lines immediately. “The inauguration of the new transmission lines has enabled us to increase imports, but we will wait until the next dry season,” said NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising.
“Currently, we have decreased imports to around 250 MW as domestic generation from run-of-the-river hydropower projects has swelled. We will import electricity over the new transmission lines during the winter when our output goes down.”
According to Ghising, the state-owned power utility will charge the newly built transmission lines and make them ready to transmit electricity whenever required. “We might import a small quantity of power before the dry season if the industrial sector needs it,” he added.
Hydropower generation in the country plunges almost 60 percent during the dry season as the water level in most rivers fall, and the NEA has to rely heavily on electricity imported from India to keep the country free from power cuts. All hydroelectric projects in the country, except Kulekhani 1 and 2, are run-of-the-river types. Run-of-the-river projects produce less power when there is less water in the rivers as opposed to storage type plants which are supplied with water stored in a reservoir.
Before the beginning of the summer season, the NEA was importing as much as 380 MW from India through a dozen cross-border transmission lines to fulfil swelling demand.
It has estimated that electricity demand will increase by 200 MW in the coming dry season, which it plans to meet largely with imports from the southern neighbour.