India and Nepal have strengthened their electricity trade with the commissioning of the high-voltage Dhalkebar substation in southern Nepal.
This is part of a World Bank-supported Nepal-India Electricity Transmission and Trade Project. It aims to establish a high voltage cross-border transmission link between India and Nepal of about 1,000 MW to facilitate electricity trade between the two neighbors.
The Dhalkebar substation is the first 220 kV substation in Nepal which works as first interconnection between Nepal and India operating at this voltage level. It is the main hub to receive electricity from India and transmit it to load centers throughout the country.
In case excess electricity is available in Nepal’s power system, electricity generated from various hydropower plants will flow to this substation via the Hetauda–Dhalkebar–Inaruwa transmission line currently under construction.
“Increasing access to reliable electricity in a timely and cost-effective manner is one of the most significant development challenges facing Nepal today. The operation of the transmission line signals a more robust domestic transmission and opens up immense possibilities of cross-border trade and electricity interchange,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Manager for Nepal.
Nepal has been able to upgrade its network capacity from 132 kV to the 220-kV voltage level with the commissioning of the Dhalkebar substation. The process to upgrade it to 400 kV is underway.
Rabin Shrestha, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project said, “As the first interconnection between Nepal and India operating at 220 kV voltage level, it will be a challenging task to ensure power system stability and synchronization with India’s electric power system. However, the experience of operating this substation will enable the Nepal Electricity Authority to identify and rectify constraints in systems operation and gradually upgrade other concomitant substations to 220 kV as well.”
India has gradually strengthened its position as an electricity exporting nation and exporting power to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar. Recently, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, the minister for Power, R.K. Singh, stated, “India is currently supplying around 660 MW power to Bangladesh and it would increase by 840 MW after the completion of additional transmission links.”