For Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Kulman Ghising, one and only one mission is to strengthen and build Nepal’s electricity supply system efficient, reliable and qualitative. For this, there requires a dependable transmission line.
As construction of hydropower projects is important, the transmission line and distribution system also need strong. This is the reason he has been recently dedicating his time to complete the transmission line projects and improve the distribution systems.
At a time when the country’s major development projects have failed to start the construction following the lockdown, Nepal Electricity Authority has shown a way to work and complete the project in time.
Despite the lockdown announced by the government, the construction work is 400-200 kV Dhalkebar Substation continues without any obstruction aiming to complete and charge by the middle of June (Asadha).
To prevent the spread of coronavirus and provide safety to the workers, the project has been strictly following safety guidelines issued by the government. Under the guidelines, the project is maintaining social distancing, masks and other safety measures. With the coordination of district administration and the local level, the project is now at the final stage.
Constructed under the gas-insulated system (GIS) aiming at electricity trade with India and distribution in the country, this is the largest substation of Nepal with a 400 kV system.
Currently, about 80 technicians from India, China and Nepal are working to complete the physical parts of construction, installation of equipment and trial.
Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Kul Man Ghising informed that the work is now going on to complete the project by the middle of June.
“During the last December and January, deteriorating weather of terai affected the project. After this spread of coronavirus halted the arrival of Chinese technicians and now the lockdown has affected the work. Now work is on following the strict security measures,” said Ghising.
He said that the equipment imported from China stranded in Kolkata port has already arrived in substation sites. “In coordination with all the agencies, we are able to bring the equipment to the site. Now the installation is going on,” said MD Ghsing. They arrived a week ago from Kolkata.
With facilitation from the secretary of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, who requested his Indian counterpart to facilitate to clear Nepalese equipment, nine trucks loaded with imported equipment arrived in Nepal.
Since the equipment is imported from China, all Chinese technicians came to Nepal before the lockdown. Although an Indian Engineer, who should require making a trial of the equipment, is unable to come to the site due to lockdown, the initiative is on to work through the remote.
There are 3 power transformers with 315 MVA with a total capacity of 945 MVA. These transformers can transmit 900 MW. MD Ghising said if all these are not charged, two transformers will be charged till the middle of June.
After the charge of this substation, Nepal and India can export and import up to 1000 MW electricity. This will also pave the way to supply electricity generated by 456 MW Upper Tamakosi to the national grid and to export to India in case of surplus energy in Nepal.
This is a key substation to channel the electricity to the east and west national grid, evacuated from 456 MW Upper Tamkosi though 220kV transmission line. This will also help export surplus energy to India. Nepal also imports up to 600 MW energy Nepal and establish an energy bank between the two countries.
Currently, Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur 220 kV is under operation. Following the completion of the project, this will increase 400 kV. The current Policies and Program has also announced to complete the project within the next fiscal year.
Indian construction company ABB is awarded contract work and Nepali company NEA Engineering. NEA and the Nepal government has invested Rs.2 billion to construct substation.
Similarly, NEA is also constructing 400-200 kV substations in Hetauda and Sunsari.
After successfully making arrangements to continue the construction work of 456 MW Upper Tamakosi project targeting to complete in time, NEA has made another major breakthrough in the Transmission project. Even medium-sized projects like Trishuli 3 B project have already started the construction.
Kali Gandaki Corridor In Final Stage
This is not the only case. Despite the nationwide lockdown, the construction works of the projects under Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is running as its schedule. Like other projects, 220 kV Kaligandaki Corridor Kusma-Myagdi portion is also at the final stage. Nepal Electricity Authority is planning to operate the line by mid-July.
Although the lockdown has completely stopped the mobility, the project with coordination from the local level and district administration is currently undergoing. The project has taken all security measures and followed the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Population. Similarly, the work of the construction of 220/132 kV substation at Dana and Kusma is undergoing and installation of equipment is almost the final stage of completion.
Managing director of NEA Kul Man Ghising said that the work is going on to charge the Dana-Kusma portion within mid-July. The transmission line helps to evacuate the electricity generated by 42 MW Mistri Khola and 11.2 MW project of Mustang. Developed by the private sector, both the projects will connect their electricity to the Dana substation to link to the national grid.
Currently, the power generated by Thapakhola Hydropower is evacuated by a 33 kV transmission line. MD Ghising said that the work of the transmission line continues even in lockdown not to waste electricity generated by Mistrikhola. “Despite obstruction in early stage in few places, the construction is now going on without any hindrance due to support from the local level and Chief District Officers. Our team is there to charge the project by the middle of July at any cost,” said MD Ghising. About 39 kilometers long, the Dana-Kushma transmission line has 110 towers. Due to opposition from local level Annapurna Rural Municipality, the erection of one tower is currently underway.
Earlier, local people stopped the construction of the tower demanding to change the route. Thanks to chief district officer of Myagdi District Gyannath Dhakal and chairperson of the municipality and other representatives, the work is underway.
“At the present laying of wire, erection of tower and work in the substation is going on. It will change till mid-July,” said deputy executive director and head of Project Management Manoj Silwal.
Project chief Chandan Kumar Ghosh said that almost all other work is complete and only 3 kilometers of laying the wire is remaining. “Despite the shortage of labor, we will charge the project by mid-July,” he said.
Funded by the Nepal Government, NEA and a concessional loan of the Asian Development Bank, the transmission line will support the evacuation of the energy generated by the private sector project. Similarly, the work under the second phase Kushma, Bhumahi (New Butwal) substation transmission work is undergoing.
Chilime Trisuli Transmission Line
Although the contractor agreed to complete the project on 13 March 2020, the construction of a 27-kilometer Chilime-Trishuli 220 kV double circuit Transmission Line Project and four circuit Trishuli B Hub project is far from complete. Situated in the difficult terrain of the region, contractor Pinggao Group of Companies China is late in meeting the deadline.
Passing through a stiff cliff of the mountain with no accessibility of transport, the project is said to be one of the most difficult transmission line projects. However, the project is the lifeline to 600 MW projects which are now under construction.
As the work of 111 MW Rashuwagadhi, 42.5 MW Sanjen and 14.8 upper Sanjen are in the final stages of generating electricity, the completion of the project is a prerequisite. Spending a whole day in the project site, MD Ghising directed the contractor to accelerate the pace and complete the project by time.
After the consultation, the contractor agreed to complete the project by August 2020. As many transmission line projects are facing local obstruction, delay in construction, MD Ghising's site inspections is generating the results. However, Ghising has to sacrifice all his personal matters as he is rushing to make impossible thing possible.