Power imports from India likely to jump 26pcNepal’s electricity imports from India are likely to jump 26 percent this winter as production has fallen at domestic hydropower plants with water levels in the rivers dropping sharply.
Nepal’s electricity imports from India are likely to jump 26 percent this winter as production has fallen at domestic hydropower plants with water levels in the rivers dropping sharply.
Last winter, Nepal bought around 380 MW from the southern neighbour when the dry season was at its peak and domestic production had shrunk to its lowest level. Power imports will surpass last year’s figure by around 100 MW this winter, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said.
Currently, Nepal is importing around 400 MW from India through various cross-border transmission lines, according to Bishnu Shrestha, chief of the load dispatch centre at the state-owned power utility.
The NEA is importing 150 MW through Kataiya-Kushwa, 120 MW through Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur, 65 MW through Raxaul-Parwanipur and 30 MW each through the Ramnagar-Gandak and Mahendranagar-Tanakpur cross-border transmission lines.
“Imports are already higher than during the dry season last year when domestic generation was at an all-time low and demand was at an all-time high,” said Shrestha. “Going by this trend, electricity imports will go up further in the coming days.”
Domestic electricity generation has plunged more than 35 percent below the total installed capacity.
The country’s hydropower plants are producing a combined 617 MW compared to their total capacity of 956 MW of electricity. While hydropower projects owned by the NEA are generating 363 MW, privately owned plants are putting out 254 MW.
As a majority of hydroelectric stations in the country are run-of-the-river types, output drops sharply during the dry season when the water flow in the rivers goes down. The only power plants with reservoirs are Kulekhani I and II. These projects generate a combined 92 MW.
Hydroelectricity generation at the NEA-owned 144 MW Kali Gandaki Hydropower Project, the country’s largest plant, has gone down by more than 27 percent to 104.7 MW. Similarly, the Marshyangdi Hydropower Project is generating only 56.8 MW compared to its installed capacity of 69 MW, according to the NEA. Power generation at the 70 MW Middle Marshyangdi Hydropower Project has come down by around 25 percent to 51.5 MW.
As the water level will continue to decrease until mid-March, electricity generation is likely to go down further which will pose challenges to the state-owned power utility to keep the country free from power cuts.
The NEA has forecast that peak demand will swell to around 1,380 MW in the coming days as more energy will be consumed for heating due to decreasing temperatures.
However, the decline in electricity generation will not lead to a resumption of load-shedding for households, the NEA has clearly stated.