Delay in construction of ‘Chilime Hub' results in wastage of electricity generated by Rasuwagadhi Hydropower Project

Published On: May 14, 2024 12:00 PM NPT By: Hari Prasad Sharma

KATHMANDU, May 14: The 111 MW Rasuwagadhi Hydropower Project has suffered a loss of over Rs 1 billion in the past four months as the construction of the 220 KV capacity 'Chilime Hub' substation and transmission line was not completed on time. As a result, the electricity generated by the project has gone to waste.

The project, which successfully tested production in mid-January, has been unable to commence commercial electricity production, due to the delay in completing the construction of the Chilime Hub.  Because of this, the project has faced financial loss of more than Rs 1 billion within four months.

Satyaram Jyakhwa, the project's chief, stated that the project is incurring a monthly loss of Rs 270 million due to the non-construction of 'Chilime Hub' substation and Chilime-Trishuli 220 kV transmission line. He added that separate expenses, including loan interest , contribute to an additional loss of Rs 150 million to Rs 200 million.

According to Jyakhwa, at the monthly rate of Rs 270 million, the project has lost Rs 1.08 billion over four months, along with Rs 150 million to Rs 200 million in principal and interest. Although a 10-kilometer transmission line has been built from the power house to the Chilime Hub, the delay in the construction of the Chilime Hub has prevented the electricity produced by the project from reaching the national transmission line.

Moreover, the construction of the 28 km long transmission line from Chilime Hub to Trishuli-3B Hub remains incomplete, with only 68 out of 75 towers built so far. The project has reported that all necessary equipment and materials for the transmission line construction have reached the site.

According to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), work on Chilime Hub is progressing rapidly, with completion expected within one-and-a-half months. The Rasuwagadhi Hydropower Project, a subsidiary of NEA, has faced delays in construction due to earthquakes, blockades, and COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in increased project cost.  

It is estimated that Rasuwagadhi Hydropower Project will generate 613.87 GWh of electricity annually.

However, the delay in constructing the Chilime Hub has also affected the connection of the Sanjen(Upper) Hydroelectric Project (SUHEP) to the national grid at full capacity. Similarly, the 42 MW Sanjen Hydroelectric Project is also in the final stage of construction.

If the construction work of Chilime Hub is prolonged, there is a possibility that the electricity generated from Sanjen Hydroelectric Project will also be wasted. About 400 megawatts of hydropower projects will be connected to the national grid at Chilime Hub, including Trishuli-3 'B'.

Although the construction of some hydropower projects is in the final stage, the energy entrepreneurs complained that the speed of the transmission line construction is slow.

In Nepal, the monsoon usually occurs on June 13. In other words, the hydropower projects will produce electricity at their full capacity during the rainy season, which will begin one month later. At that time, electricity goes wasted due to old and dilapidated transmission systems.

Ganesh Karki, president of the Independent Power Producers' Association Nepal (IPPAN), highlighted the need for the government and the NEA  to prioritize the completion of transmission lines and substations. He urged the government to consider involving the private sector in transmission line construction to mitigate the financial losses incurred due to electricity wastage.


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