LAHORE: As water flows increase with the onset of summer, the Neelum Jhelum hydropower project (NJHP) touched its maximum generation capacity of 969 megawatt once again on Friday. All four units have started running on full load (installed capacity) of 242.25 megawatt each.
The project had started operation with the commissioning of its first unit on April 13 last year. A phased commissioning of the three other units was completed by Aug 14, when the project generated electricity to its maximum capacity (969MW).
However, power generation came down because of low water flows during the winter.
“Since its commissioning in April 2018, the NJHP has so far injected over 2.1 billion units (kWh) into the national grid,” according to a press release of the Water and Power Development Authority.
The project, constructed on Neelum river in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has a dam at Nauseri, an underground waterway system consisting of 52-km-long tunnels, and an underground powerhouse at Chattar Kalas.
“The project provides about 4.6 billion units of electricity to the national grid every year and significantly contributes to meet the electricity requirements of the country,” the press release said.
The project’s power house was shut down on Jan 5 in order to carry out an inspection — a contractual obligation. The four units remained closed for 29 days till Feb 2.
Before going into full operation with four power generating units, the project faced quite a few hiccups. In May last year, the commercial operation of its fourth unit, which was put on a trial run the previous month, was put off for four months after experts identified some technical problems in the machine during tests and sought replacement of some parts.
Although this unit injected more than 1.3 million units of electricity into the national grid during its trial run, it exceeded the specifications, leaving the consultants with no option but to replace its “labyrinth” and “lower sleeve” with new ones for a trouble-free operation. The contractor placed the order with the manufacturer, Harbin China.
In the same month (May), the first unit started providing electricity to the national grid. The second also underwent mechanical run tests in May.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2019