Chameliya hydro likely to come online in Jan

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The construction of Chameliya started in January 2008, and it was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2011

Dec 16, 2017-A wet test of the Chameliya Hydropower Project, which stalled due to problems in one of the radial gates near the intake, will resume within a week, raising expectations that the 30 MW plant will begin producing electricity in the first week of January. 

The test started in November, but when it was discovered that two radial gates couldn’t be closed after a large part of the concrete in the gate had been eaten away by the river water, it had to be stopped.

The radial gate in a hydropower plant is a very important structure as it blocks the water flowing in the river and channelizes it into the intake tunnel and ultimately to the turbines to generate electricity. 

China Gezhouba Group Corporation, the civil contractor hired by the project owner Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), completed repairs to the radial gate on Friday. Technicians repaired the gate after diverting the river’s water by building a temporary structure. 

“It will take a couple of days for the concrete to set,” said Ajay Kumar Dahal, the NEA appointed project chief of Chameliya. 

“Then we will start clearing the debris and boulders that have accumulated during the maintenance. This will be completed in a week, and the plant will be handed over to Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company, the electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical contractor of the project.”

The Korean contractor will then begin the wet test of the project. During the wet test, water from the tunnel will be channelised into various hydro- and electro-mechanical equipment including the plant’s turbines. 

Technicians will then check if all the machines are functioning properly. “The wet test should be completed by the end of December,” said Dahal. “If everything goes as planned, we will start generating electricity from the first week of January.”

When the project, located in Darchula district in far west Nepal, eventually goes online, it will mark the end of a troubled construction period which saw time and cost 

overruns. 

The construction of Chameliya started in January 2008, and it was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2011. But the completion date was pushed back repeatedly due to disputes between the state-owned power utility NEA and the contractors. 

Work at the site came to a halt in May 2014 after the government refused to make an additional payment of Rs1.09 billion which the contractor had asked for due to cost variance resulting from the squeezing of the tunnel. The contractor agreed to resume work after being summoned to the Energy Ministry and told to do so immediately by then energy minister Janardan Sharma. 

The Chinese civil contractor for the project, which returned to work in October 2016 after more than two years, then speeded up work and completed the civil works within the September deadline. 

Published: 16-12-2017 08:39

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