Indian-Nepali joint venture to carry out studies for three power linesThe planned 400 kV transmission lines will boost the capacity of Nepal's power grid.
The Project Management Directorate under the Nepal Electricity Authority has signed a deal with an Indian-Nepali joint venture to carry out preliminary studies for the construction of three major 400 kV transmission lines.
Power Grid Corporation of India and Jade Consult of Nepal are joining forces to make a study of substations and power lines stretching from Tingla in eastern Nepal to Dhalkebar substation, from the Budhi Gandaki Corridor to Ratamate, and from Damauli to Baphikot.
The scheme is part of the Asian Development Bank-funded $21 million Preparatory Facility for Energy Project.
“We are gearing up to move forward with the crucial projects as per the transmission master plan issued by the government in 2018,” said Bodh Nath Neupane, project manager. “We initiated the process to hire international consultants in November, and we aim to have the projects ready to go into construction by February 2021.”
According to Neupane, the planned power lines will boost the capacity of Nepal's power grid to transmit and handle a greater power load, and allow smooth export of electricity to India.
Power Grid Corporation is an Indian state-owned entity which is also constructing a 400 kV transmission line from the export-oriented 900 megawatt Arun 3 hydel scheme to Bathnaha on the Nepal-India border.
The Indian company has executed 13 other consulting assignments funded by multilateral agencies including the Asian Development Bank and the World bank.
The consulting process of the Tingla, Budhi Gandaki and Damauli transmission lines will be carried out with a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Bank. The project’s closing date is slated for June 2020.
“As the projects are crucial to help us expand the grid and increase electricity supply within Nepal and India and were bogged down in processes, we are planning to seek a deadline extension from the donor through the Finance Ministry,” said Neupane.
Six international firms were in the race for the consulting contract. The state-owned power utility has signed an agreement with the joint venture, but it is yet to deposit the performance guarantee and conclude the contract process.
As per the Transmission System Development Plan of Nepal, the Tingla-Dhalkebar line, the current power exchange conduit between Nepal and India, will pass through the Khimti and Sunkoshi corridors which have a high concentration of power schemes.
The Tingla hub holds 19 percent of the total generation capacity of Province 1 with the proposed 590 megawatt Dudh Koshi 2 and 86 megawatt Solu Khola schemes on its periphery.
The plan has envisioned to evacuate 1444.94 megawatts from the Tingla hub and 2226.67 megawatts from the Khimti region by 2040 through the proposed conduit.
The transmission project in the Budhi Gandaki corridor will evacuate 1824.7 megawatts of electricity. Six transmission projects in the Damauli-Baphikot and Butwal regions, including the second high capacity Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border line, will convey over 2000 megawatts. The power lines have been proposed to be built with an investment of over $500 million.
According to the donor, the project is intended to prepare a series of hydropower projects and related transmission infrastructure for development in Nepal, emphasising private sector participation and regional integration.
“The Asian Development Bank is helping Nepal lay the groundwork for projects needed to reduce local power shortages and to provide surplus electricity for export to India,” said the donor. “A major obstacle to exploiting Nepal's hydropower export potential is the shortage of adequate infrastructure to transmit electricity to neighbouring India. Instead of exporting power, in fact, Nepal imports it from India.”
In July, the power utility also initiated the process to carry out preliminary studies for the construction of three transmission lines and seven high capacity substations in eastern Nepal, four years after signing a loan agreement with the International Development Association to build them.
The initiative is intended to support the government’s target to evacuate more than 3,000 megawatts from the region for domestic consumption and export.