‘$4bn needed to transform power transmission infrastructure’

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

‘$4bn needed to transform power transmission infrastructure’

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The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has estimated that the country needs to invest as much as $4bn by 2030 to transform the existing transmission infrastructure.

In a presentation at a program last week, NEA Managing Director Kul Man Ghising said an investment of $3.95bn will be required to complete the NEA’s plan of transforming the existing transmission infrastructure which has remained poor and unreliable.

According to him, it will require $2.51bn for the planned and ongoing transmission line projects within the Kathmandu Valley and outside. An additional $1.44bn will be required for constructing the substations.

NEA is currently developing and has planned to develop 400kV, 220kV, 132kV, and 66kV transmission lines and substations. Even though load shedding in the country officially ended in May 2019, the reliability of the power supply has been a major concern for industrial and general consumers. The NEA leadership has time and again insisted that the next major focus would be to improve the transmission and distribution infrastructure of power supply.

NEA has been forced to cut power industries based in the Birgunj area because of failure to supply power there due to poor transmission infrastructure.

Nepal has been importing electricity from India during the dry season but it has not been able to deliver the imported power from India to Birgunj where industries are facing daily power cuts.

One of the main reasons behind the failure to deliver the imported power to the area is poor transmission infrastructure. “Existing transmission line cannot carry much power,” said an NEA official. “So, we have failed to deliver power from Dhalkebar to Birgunj.” Nepal has been importing power through the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross Border Transmission Line from the Indian market.

While domestic transmission infrastructure has remained poor, the cross-border transmission infrastructure between Nepal and India is also not efficient. For example, the 132kV Raxaul-Parwanipur Cross Border Transmission Line can transmit only 80MW of electricity. The 33kV Raxual-Birgunj Transmission Line Project can carry only 12MW electricity.

“We have requested the Bihar State government for the supply of additional 90MW of electricity through improvement in cross border power lines,” said the NEA official. Considering the poor state of cross-border power lines, Nepal and India agreed to upgrade these transmission lines. There are a dozen cross-border power lines between Nepal and India. Except for Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur, the capacity of other power lines range between 33kV to 132kV, according to the NEA.

So improving domestic and cross-border electricity lines between Nepal and India has emerged as a major priority for the government-owned power utility to ensure the reliability of the power supply. NEA officials say improving the quality of power supply is important to promote the use of electric vehicles and electric cooktops in the country as well.

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