KATHMANDU, April 17
Investment in three under-construction hydropower projects in Rasuwa is under risk with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) not constructing transmission line in time. The NEA has said there will be a four-year delay in construction of the 220 KV transmission line from Chilime hub in Rasuwa to Trishuli 3 B.
Not even preliminary work of the transmission line has been started. Similarly, construction of 220 KV transmission line from Trishuli 3 B to Matatirtha, Kathmandu has also been delayed in lack of approval by the forest authorities and land acquisition. Electricity generated by the projects in the Trishuli corridor cannot be supplied until these two transmission lines are completed.
The NEA should complete the transmission lines by the end of 2017 as per power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the projects. Work has been delayed by a year due to the earthquake and Indian blockade. Chief of Sanjen Hydropower Project Giri Raj Adhikari said the NEA has now provided a working schedule saying the transmission line in Chilime hub will be completed only in 2020.
“The generated electricity will go in waste and the project will have to pay installments to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in lack of timely construction of the transmission lines. The NEA should pay attention toward that,” he added. Land owners moved the Supreme Court seeking a higher rate for compensation during land acquisition for sub-stations in the Chilime hub, according to him, and the case is sub judice for a year.
KfW Development Bank of Germany and European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed agreement to provide Rs 8 billion in loan and grant for the transmission lines. He claimed that the NEA was late even in appointment of consultant for the transmission lines. “No transmission line constructed in Nepal has been completed in the scheduled time. It will not be possible even in this project,” he added.
He stated that it will be very hard to meet the standards required by KfW and EIB. Chiefs of Sanjen and Rasuwagadi claim that the projects will be completed by December, 2018 even if the earthquake affected construction for a year.
Deputy Managing Director of the Transmission Line Directorate at the NEA Kanaiya Kumar Manandhar conceded that there has been delay in construction of transmission lines. “The process of appointment of consultant is in the final stage,” he claimed. He argued that construction was affected due to different reasons even though the action plan was prepared in a way to complete the transmission lines in 2017.
Rasuwagadi (111 MW), Upper Sanjen (14 MW) and Lower Sanjen (42 MW) are being developed by Chilime Hydropower Company Limited under the NEA. The three projects will generate 950 million units of electricity a year. The two Sanjens will cost Rs 7.24 billion and Rasuwagadi Rs 13 billion. The EPF is the main investor of the projects.