Electric utility concerned about power spills during holiday season when demand drops

The Nepal Electricity Authority said it has witnessed electricity spills and it will increase further during the festival season as the electricity utility awaits Indian approval to export more electricity to India.

With hydroelectric projects operating at full capacity due to continuous monsoon rains, Nepal is currently generating more electricity than existing domestic demand and the amount it is allowed to export.

The installed capacity of hydroelectric projects in the country is around 2200 MW, while the peak demand is around 1700 MW, according to the NEA.

“For more than a week now, around 50MW of electricity has been wasted at night when the demand for electricity drops,” said Kul Man Ghising, chief executive of the NEA.

“And from October, around 200 MW could be wasted if we don’t get approval from the Indian authorities to sell more power to the Indian market.”

He said demand for electricity decreases during the festival season due to the closure of factories and businesses, the main consumers of electricity.

The NEA is now considering how to use the excess energy to generate additional revenue.

The southern neighbor now allows Nepal to sell a maximum of 364 MW of electricity in its market through India Energy Exchange Limited, an electricity trading platform.

The NEA has sold 37.7 MW from the Trishuli and Devighat hydropower projects, 140 MW from Kaligandaki, 68 MW from Middle Marsyangdi, 67 MW from Marsyangdi and 51 MW from Likhu-4, which was developed by the private sector, according to the NEA.

The NEA has earned up to 7.19 billion rupees from exporting power to India in the past four months, between early June and mid-September, according to the power utility.

But the NEA has sought approval from Indian authorities to sell an additional 212.7MW of power across the border through tenders over the past month and a half.

Even though the NEA had long asked Indian authorities for approval to sell the electricity produced by the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi hydroelectric project, Indian officials refused to give the green light, citing the involvement of Chinese contractors in the project. project, which is currently the largest in Nepal.

India instead asked the NEA to come up with other projects without Chinese components to sell power in the Indian market.

In mid-August, the NEA had sought India’s approval to sell 111.8 MW generated by the Mistrikhola, Likhukhola-A, Solukhola and Chilime hydroelectric projects.

The NEA said it has also applied for permission to sell an additional 100.9 MW generated by the Likhukhola, Kabeli B1, Maikhola, Hewa Khola A and Lower Modi hydropower projects.

“We hope to get approval from the Indian authorities to export more electricity,” the NEA said in a statement on Tuesday.

During the last fiscal year, 735 MW of electricity, notably from solar power plants, was added to the national grid.

With this addition, the installed capacity of electricity increased to 2,189.6 MW in 2021-22, consisting of 2,075.4 MW of hydroelectricity, 54.8 MW of solar energy, 6.0 MW of cogeneration and 53 .4 MW generated by thermal power plants.

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