KATHMANDU, Nov 9: A meeting of the board of directors of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on Thursday has decided to install thermal plants of 80 megawatts capacity within nine months. The decision is in line with the government´s Load-shedding Minimization Work Plan, which was approved by the cabinet a month ago.
An NEA source said, "A 36 MW plant will be installed within the next three months and another 44 MW plant will be installed in about nine months."
According to the work plan, the government aims to generate a total of 200 MW through thermal plants. The board meeting also decided to appoint Digambar Jha, former managing director of Nepal Oil Corporation, as consultant for the purpose of installing the plants
The board meeting also discussed potential sites for installing the plants -- Parwanipur and Pathlaiya in Bara, Simara of Sarlahi, Duhabi in Sunsari, Lahan in Siraha, Heatuda of Makwanpur, and Bhairahawa of Rupandehi. "These are only the potential sites and the installation would depend upon the availability of land, capacity of transmission line, demand for electricity for factories, etc but Parwanipur is the most probable," said an NEA source on condition of anonymity.
The installation works depends on the budget that the government allocates. There are currently two thermal power plants in the country -- in Duhabi and Heatuda -- and these can generate about 40 MW.
Although the government´s load-shedding work plan states that thermal plant installation would be completed by the end of November, it now appears impossible. "There was some delay in the decision-making process but at least 36 MW can be generated by the end of January if the govenrment provides budget on time," said the sources.
Likewise the board meeting also decided to award Tractebel Engineering S.A France the task of preparing the detailed design of the 600 MW Budigandaki Hydropower Project, which is located in Gorkha district.
The French company will conduct the study in collaboration with Nepal-based Jade Consult Private Limited. Budigandaki is reservoir-based project, which is one of the priority projects of the govenrment. NEA had completed the feasibility study of the project recently. The total estimated cost of the study is Rs 1 billion.