The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) received unexpected help from the heavens in its effort to eliminate loadshedding in the industrial sector. Incessant rain in the last few days has raised the water levels in the rivers, allowing domestic hydropower plants to boost production.
A majority of the hydroelectric plants in the country are of the run-of-the-river type, and power generation goes up when there is more water in the rivers.
Last week, the NEA increased electricity imports from India to 501 MW to be able to supply uninterrupted power to the industrial sector. On Monday, the state-owned power utility was able to slash imports to 460 MW after the country’s hydropower projects started churning out more electricity. Domestic generation swelled to more than 550 MW from less than 500 MW last week, the NEA said.
During peak hour, domestic generation further increases to around 600 MW as the power utility operates its peaking run-of-the-river projects at full capacity. When the skies opened up, it gave breathing space to NEA senior officials who had been instructed by Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun to eliminate power cuts immediately. The NEA had initially planned to end industrial power cuts by May-end.
“Although we are not in a very comfortable position, the situation has become better than what it was a week ago,” said Prabal Adhikari, spokesperson for the NEA. “Domestic generation will now keep on increasing, and we will be in a comfortable position within a couple of weeks.” The water level in the snow-fed rivers will also go up with the rising temperature, allowing hydropower projects to generate more power. All hydroelectric projects in the country, except Kulekhani 1 and 2, are run-of-the-river types, and their output increases with a rise in the water level in the rivers.
The NEA said factories would not face power cuts from now onward. “We have a cushion of around 60 MW that we can import from India, and we can still increase power generation during peak hours,” said Adhikari. “Loadshedding has become history now.”
The NEA has been supplying regular energy to residential customers for more than a year now at the expense of factories where there is loadshedding lasting 3-4 hours during peak times. The power utility has been under constant pressure to remove power cuts in the industrial sector. Industrialists have been demanding uninterrupted power so that they can operate their factories at full capacity.
From The Kathmandu Post