Begnas, Rupa water to be used to produce energy

Pump-storage hydel project

- Post Report, Kathmandu

The Energy Ministry on Thursday awarded a survey licence for the first ever pump-storage type hydropower project to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). The proposed 150 MW project will be built on Begnas and Rupa lakes in Pokhara.

In a pumped-storage project, water is pumped from a lower elevation of the reservoir to a higher elevation during off-peak times when there is less demand for electricity and the tariff is lower.

The stored water is released to a lower reservoir to produce electricity during periods of high power demand. The power plant itself becomes an electricity consumer when pumping water, but it pays less because it does so during off-peak times. The plant produces energy using the stored water during peak times when it charges a higher rate.

As Begnas Lake is located at a higher altitude than Rupa Lake, hydroelectricity can be generated by channelling water from Begnas to Rupa where the powerhouse will be built.

There is a natural head of around 60 metres which will be sufficient to generate electricity, the NEA said. The project, according to the state-owned power utility, will be designed to generate power for 4 hours daily.

As per the NEA’s plan, water will be channelled into Rupa from Begnas during peak times to produce electricity. “During off-peak times, like mid-day or midnight, the project will be use a reversible turbine to pump the water back into Begnas from Rupa,” said Prabal Adhikari, spokesperson for the NEA.

The NEA decided to develop a pumped-storage type project after Kulman Ghising was appointed as managing director. It applied for a survey licence with the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) on October 13 after completing a preliminary study for the development of the pump-storage project.

As the Energy Ministry has the sole authority to award survey licences for projects with an installed capacity of 100 MW or above, the department forwarded the application with its recommendation to the ministry on Thursday. The NEA was awarded the licence on the same day. 

“The NEA decided to build a pumped-storage type project as there isn’t a single one in the country,” said Adhikari. “We have no experience in developing a pump-storage type project, so we will probably seek foreign help to prepare a detailed project report (DPR).”

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), according to Adhikari, is keen in helping Nepal develop a pump-storage type hydropower project. “As Japan has vast experience in developing such types of hydropower projects, we will probably ask JICA for help to prepare a DPR,” he said.

Published: 2017-11-11 08:15:01