The existing electricity distribution system in the Kathmandu Valley will not be able to handle the increased load in the next two years, and power cuts will have to be imposed if the network is not improved immediately, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Barbara Adams Talk Series on Thursday, Managing Director Kulman Ghising of the state-owned power utility said the NEA must take immediate measures to improve distribution in the Valley.
“If we don’t strengthen our distribution and transmission network, we will not be able to meet demand despite an adequate supply,” Ghising said. “The existing distribution network is also very fragile, and we are witnessing regular tripping of electricity supply. Therefore, upgradation is an immediate necessity.”
The Valley’s existing distribution network can’t support a load of more than 400 MW. The NEA is planning to upgrade it to be able to support up to 2,000 MW by developing new substations, upgrading the existing ones and replacing overhead cables with underground cables.
Stakeholders participating in the talk show urged the NEA to improve its distribution network and transmission lines to ensure reliable supply of power in the future when the country is expected to have surplus electricity.
After the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Project being developed in Dolakha district comes online within a year, the country will have surplus energy at least during the monsoon season.
However, experts are foreseeing major challenges in the evacuation of the electricity generated by the project in the absence of transmission lines. Only around 70 percent of the construction work on the much awaited 220 kV Gongor-Khimti Transmission Line Project, crucial for evacuating energy generated by the plant, has been completed.
The project has been able to install electric cables on 12 km of the 47-km long transmission line due to dispute with locals over right of way through their property.
The right of way refers to the land acquired by the project developer where transmission towers are erected and the corridor above which the electricity cables pass. “The power utility must put greater focus on the transmission line project,” said Arbind Kumar Mishra, member of the National Planning Commission.
Likewise, experts also urged the NEA to diversify its energy mix and prioritise other sources of energy along with hydropower. “When the cost of solar energy has been decreasing significantly, the NEA must consider including solar power in its energy mix,” said Gobinda Raj Pokharel, former vice-chairman of the commission.
From The Kathmandu Post