Lack of transmission lines holds back hydel projectsOverhead cables to evacuate electricity have not been built, and the project developers worry that the power will go to waste once production starts.
Almost half a dozen hydropower projects in Lamjung—nearing completion or already completed—are being held back by lack of transmission lines.
Overhead cables to evacuate the electricity that will be generated have not been built, and the projects are worried that the power will go to waste once production starts.
The 25 megawatt Upper Dordi A and 54 megawatt Super Dordi B are in the final stages of completion. The 30 megawatt Nyadi, 27 megawatt Dordi Khola and 12 megawatt Dordi I are ready to come online, but have been putting off production.
“If the transmission line is constructed, these projects will be completed in one to two months,” project officials said. “But we have been forced to delay production.”
State-owned power utility Nepal Electricity Authority has not been able to build the transmission line and substation within the committed timeline. Despite the setback, hydropower promoters have not been able to complain openly.
The Nyadi plant is in the process of generating electricity. The scheme was completed in the last fiscal year ended mid-July 2021. It had signed an agreement with the Nepal Electricity Authority to feed the power generated into the Khudi substation through a 220 kV transmission line.
But the planned Marsyangdi Corridor transmission line and substation have not been built, and the hydropower project has had to put off generation.
An attempt has been made to connect the 50 megawatt Upper Marsyangdi A to the Bhulbhule-Marsyangdi transmission line.
Nyadi Hydropower has sealed a connection agreement with the authority. Uttam Amatya, CEO of Nyadi Hydropower, said he was hopeful that the lines would be connected in a few days.
"Everyone knows that electricity is being purchased from India at Rs38 per unit. The electricity we produce costs Rs8.44 per unit,” Amatya said. Nyadi has constructed a 6-km transmission line to the Khudi substation.
The construction of a 3-km line from Marsyangdi Rural Municipality-3 , Khudi substation to Marsyangdi Rural Municipality-8, Lampata is at the final stage.
Guruprasad Dhakal, executive director of Himalayan Power Partner, the promoter of the 27 megawatt Dordi Khola project, said that electricity could go to waste as the authority has not finished the transmission line and substation on time.
“We do not know when the authorities will make it,” he said. “We are in the trial phase with the completion of the construction of the project.”
The project has constructed eight towers and laid 2 km of wire from the power house located on the bank of the Marsyangdi River at Besisahar-11, Ramchowkbesi to the Udipur substation which is yet to be built.
Deepak Gyawali, project engineer of the Dordi Khola project, said that the first phase trial of the project had been completed. He added that general problems were being solved. "The authority neither builds substations nor transmission lines.”
Ujjwal Silwal, project manager of the Dordi 1 project, said the authority was buying electricity at a high price instead of doing something to prevent wastage of electricity at the country's projects.
“The authority has purchased electricity from India at a high cost. Even though our electricity is ready, there is no transmission line. The tower that collapsed in mid-June has not been built yet,” Silwal said.
"The flood in the Dordi River in mid-June swept away four of the 132 kV double circuit towers of the Dordi Corridor transmission line. We waited for the authority to rebuild the towers so we could generate electricity. It looks like two towers have been rebuilt, but nothing has been done on the remaining two towers,” Silwal said.
The Dordi 1 plant, which is being constructed by Lamjung Electricity Development Company, has constructed a 3-km-long 132 kV single circuit transmission line up to Kirtipur Besi as per its agreement with the authority.
Silwal said that all the trials of the project had been completed. The four towers that collapsed were located near the powerhouse and at Hilebazaar, Malebagar and Khinchok.
Ramesh Poudel, chief of the Dordi Corridor National Transmission Line Project, said work on the substation and transmission line was completed in mid-April last year. About Rs600 million has been invested in the project, he said. The towers were swept away by a flood in mid-June.
Poudel said it would cost Rs30 million to rebuild the four towers. He added that the foundations of two towers had been completed, and that 33 towers were constructed under the Kirtipur Besi-Udipur 132 kV Double Circuit Dordi Corridor National Transmission Line.
"A problem occurred due to a huge rock. The materials for the towers are being brought from Birgunj," he said.
“We aimed to finish building the towers by mid-April, but it is expected to take till mid-May,” Poudel said. "The hydropower projects are also in the trial phase. Let's hope we don't have to wait long."
Nepal Hydro and Electric has constructed a substation in Kirtipur Besi. The transmission line was built by Mudwari and Joshi Construction. Even though work on the Dordi Corridor has been completed, the substation of the Marsyangdi Corridor 220 kV double circuit transmission line has not been constructed in Udipur.
Until the Udipur substation is ready, electricity needs to be connected to the Mid-Marsyangdi Hydropower Station. For this, a 6-km additional transmission line needs to be constructed.
Poudel said that the Dordi Corridor had constructed 37 towers, including four more, to extend the transmission line to the Mid-Marsyangdi Centre. He said 11 km of transmission line had been constructed including this line.
According to Chirantan Bikram Rana, project chief of the Marsyangdi Corridor 220 kV Transmission Line, work on the transmission line and substation is going on in full swing.
The transmission line connecting Manang-Lamjung-Tanahu-Chitwan is 112 km long. Although the project was expected to be completed by 2020, it is not ready yet. The transmission line is expected to cost $92.05 million (approximately Rs10 billion).
The Nepal Electricity Authority is constructing a Lamjung-Tanahu transmission line from Ghelanchok in the Himalayan district of Manang to the New Bharatpur Station at Apatari in Chitwan.
In the first phase, a 67-km-long 220 kV double circuit transmission line will be constructed from Udipur of Lamjung to Bharatpur substation. Chinese company Pinggao (ExxonMobil) has won the contract. The transmission line will be able to transport 1,600 megawatts of electricity.