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Upper Trishuli-3A, Kulekhani-3 plants nearing finish

   April 15, 2019        122        PRAHLAD RIJAL, PRATAP BISTA

The Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project is on track to come online in a few weeks with workers putting the final touches to the power plant and the Matatirtha substation in Kathmandu. The 60 MW scheme located 95 km north of Kathmandu is expected to produce 30 MW in the initial phase.

“The project is on schedule with work on the power generation facility and transmission lines nearing completion,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority. “If the transmission lines in the Matatirtha area is completed on time, we will be able to feed additional power to the grid by April 30.”

According to Ghising, more than 95 percent of the work related to transmission lines and equipment has been completed while construction crews are working to finish the remaining two pylons out of the total 140 transmission towers.

The state-owned power utility is building the hydropower project with a concessional loan of $114.7 million from the Export-Import Bank of China.

The foundation stone of the project was laid in November 2011 with the completion deadline set for May 2014. The project sank into uncertainty after the contractor, China Gezhouba Group Company, halted work citing heavy damage to the access road and dam during the 2015 earthquake. Work resumed after a two-year hiatus and the project was expected to come into operation by mid-January.

Apart from evacuating the power produced by the Upper Trishuli-A project, the Nepal Electricity Authority plans to use the facility at Matatirtha to transmit electricity produced by other hydropower schemes in the Trishuli corridor. The Trishuli-Kathmandu 220 kV double-circuit line will evacuate 30 MW from the Upper Trishuli-3A plant by April and another 30 MW starting in June.

Tunnel test of Kulekhani-3 begins The Kulekhani-3 hydropower project has initiated civil component tests with project officials planning to switch on the power plant by mid-July. Launched in April 2008, the scheme was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012.

According to the project, civil tests were initiated two weeks ago by channeling 115 litres of water per second into the main tunnel of the hydel plant. “We will now run electro mechanical tests next week,” project chief Subhash Kumar Mishra said. “Tests and minor construction tasks will be done simultaneously.”

According to a project official, the construction of two of the three main transmission towers has been completed. Cables will be installed as soon as they are ready.

The project’s completion deadline has been extended six times since construction began. The 14 MW power project missed the completion deadline multiple times due to the slow progress of Jheijian Jialin Company implementing the hydro and mechanical works. In May 2014, the National Planning Commission declared Kulekhani III a troubled project after the project’s cost per megawatt was projected to balloon to Rs310 million from Rs173.6 million. The project, which was estimated to cost Rs2.43 billion when it was launched 11 years ago, is now expected to cost Rs4.63 billion.

“The construction of the powerhouse at Sanutar is in the final phases and electricity will be generated by the end of the current fiscal year,” a senior project official said.

According to the electricity authority, a half-kilometre-long transmission line will be extended from the powerhouse to connect it with the national grid. After Kulekhani-3 goes online, 128 MW will be produced from Makwanpur district alone with the three Kulekhani projects generating 106 MW.

The Kathmandu Post

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