The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is planning to study if the high-volume transmission of electricity through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line would cause any voltage-related problems in Nepal after the Indian side raised concerns on the matter.
At a time when Nepal has been requesting India to allow Nepal to sell an extra 681MW of electricity in the upcoming monsoon season due to the surplus energy production in the country, the Indian side has pointed out the possible weakness in Nepal’s power transmission infrastructure.
During the meeting of the joint technical team on energy cooperation held about two weeks ago, the Indian side warned about the possible voltage problem while transmitting a big load at the same time through this cross-border line. “We’ve told them that we will conduct a study on the issue,” said an official of NEA. “There will be a study on whether infrastructure could be improved by adding capacitors and condensers.”
According to the official, the infrastructure should be able to sustain the flow of a high quantity of power loads at the same time. “We have been seeing the problem of low voltage power supply in the Tarai region during the hot climate when demand for power grows,” the official said.
The infrastructure shortcomings on the Nepal side have been pointed out at a time Nepal is desperate to export more power in the upcoming wet season which will begin in June.
Currently, India has allowed Nepal to sell 452MW of electricity generated by 10 hydropower projects in the Indian power market.
According to an official of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), Nepal has requested India to allow exports of 681MW of extra electricity during the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Rajendra Prasad Lingden and Indian Foreign Secretary Vinaya Mohan Kwatra on Tuesday.
The Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross Border Transmission Line is the only 400kv capacity cross-border line, which can transport around 1,000MW.
Currently, there are other 11 cross-border transmission lines with capacities of 33kV and 132kV, and the lines can transfer electricity between 5MW and 125MW only, according to a white paper on energy issued by MoEWRI in May 2018.
Nepal and India will be discussing improving the infrastructure of the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line on the Nepali side during the 10th meeting of the joint secretary-level Joint Working Group and secretary-level Joint Steering Committee on energy scheduled to be held on February 17-18 in New Delhi, India.
“As the recommendation of the joint technical team should be endorsed by the Joint Steering Committee, we are taking this issue to this meeting,” the NEA official said.
Nepal has been facing problems to transfer electricity from one location of the country to another due to poor transmission infrastructure. Even though Nepal has been importing electricity from India during the dry season, it has failed to transport the imported electricity to the Birgunj area due to the lack of high-capacity power line and the NEA has been imposing load shedding there for the industrial consumers for the last two months.
Likewise, there is also no high-capacity cross-border transmission line between the two countries except the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line. ‘That’s why we are proposing with India to develop two more cross-border transmission lines in the upcoming meeting,” said a senior MoEWRI official.
Nepal will request India for developing 400kV Inaruwa (Duhabi)-Purnia and 400kV New Lamki (Dodhara)-Bareli cross-border transmission lines. “There will also be a discussion on improving the capacity of low capacity cross border power lines too,” the MoEWRI official said.