Dhalkebar-Inaruwa Transmission Line to Facilitate Export of 4,000 Megawatts of Electricity

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Dhalkebar-Inaruwa Transmission Line to Facilitate Export of 4,000 Megawatts of Electricity

KATHMANDU: The construction of the Dhalkebar-Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line has been completed, enabling the transmission of 4,000 megawatts of electricity. This project is part of the Hetaunda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line initiative, aimed at enhancing the reliability of the electricity transmission system within Nepal and expanding electricity trade with India.

The 154 km double circuit transmission line runs from Dhalkebar in Dhanusha to the Inaruwa Substation in Sunsari. Meanwhile, the 288 km transmission line from the Hetaunda substation in Makwanpur to the Inaruwa substation is being constructed in two sections. The Dhalkebar-Inaruwa section is complete, and the Hetaunda-Dhalkebar section is still under construction.

Executive Director of Nepal Electricity Authority, Kulman Ghising, highlighted that the completion of the Dhalkebar-Inaruwa section is a significant milestone, improving the country's transmission system's quality and reliability and increasing electricity trade between Nepal and India.

Currently, the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line imports and exports only 800 megawatts of electricity due to the infrastructure limitations. However, once complete, the Dhalkebar-Inaruwa transmission line will allow for excess electricity to be exported to India.

Previously, during winter, the existing 132 kV transmission line from Dhalkebar to Inaruwa struggled to handle the load, often nearing the breaking point. With the new 400 kV line, voltage issues will been resolved, and power supply to the Morang-Sunsari industrial corridor will improved significantly.

The Inaruwa 400 kV substation is already operational. To further enhance the power supply in the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor, the old conductor of the Inaruwa-Duhbi 132 kV transmission line is being replaced with a high-capacity HTLS conductor. This upgrade will almost double the transmission line's capacity, which currently transmits about 200 megawatts of electricity.

Proposals have been made for the Inaruwa-Purnia transmission line for power trade with India and the Inaruwa-Anaramani 400 kV transmission line for trade between Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, with funding from the Korean Export-Import (EXIM) Bank.

The Dhalkebar-Inaruwa section includes 417 towers. A deep pile foundation (24-32 meters) has been laid for the 5 km transmission line on the Koshi river, with each of the 11 towers in this segment having 16 pile foundations. The project faced complications two years ago when a flood in the Koshi river swept away one of the towers.

Project Director Shyam Kumar Yadav noted that the construction was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, local obstructions, a Supreme Court interim order, and the procedural delay in forest area land use and tree felling process.

In Siraha, the work was halted for four years due to a court order, necessitating three preliminary environmental impact assessments (IEAs). With the Dhalkebar-Inaruwa section now completed, efforts are focused on the Dhalkebar-Hetaunda section, with 45 km of wire already laid.

Local residents in Hetaunda sub-metropolitan wards 15, 16, and 17 have been obstructing construction for about seven years, demanding a shift in the route. Sixteen towers remain to be built, 14 in the Hatia area and two in Thanabharyang, Hetaunda-11.

The Hetaunda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa transmission line project spans along the hill region, Shivalik-Chure range, and Terai regions, covering 10 districts: Makwanpur, Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha, Saptari, Udayapur, and Sunsari.

The contract was signed in January 2012 AD with the aim of completing it within 30 months. The 400 kV transmission line mostly runs parallel to the existing 132 kV transmission line and the East-West Highway. The right-of-way is 23 meters on either side from the center point of the transmission line.

The project involves clearing 518 hectares of forest and acquiring 30 hectares of private agricultural land, affecting 475 hectares of private land and 171 houses and structures. Compensation for the right-of-way in the Dhalkebar-Inaruwa section alone cost about Rs 5 billion.

With an estimated cost of $170 million, the project is part of the Nepal-India Power Transmission and Trade Project, funded by the Government of Nepal, the Nepal Electricity Authority and concessional loans from the World Bank. After the World Bank loan period ended, the funding for the remaining works of the project is being bankrolled by the government and the NEA.



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