Building hydropower plants without considering the risks
04 September, 2015
Building hydropower plants without considering the risks
Georgia’s abundant water resources are being actively utilized for numerous hydropower plants. No one argues that having one’s own energy sources is good for the country’s development, but alarms are still being sounded – according to environmentalists, almost all of Georgia’s new HPPs are built or being built without extensive prior research. Besides, there is little to no support for involving the society into discussions on the new projects, event though holding public debates and considering the local population’s opinion
represents one of the EU directives.

According to environmentalists, almost all of Georgia’s new HPPs are built or being built without extensive prior research. Besides, there is little to no support for involving the society into discussions on the new projects.

The Association Agreement Georgia signed with the EU in 2014 has obliged Georgia to tweak its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation. The tweaks should envision procedures necessary for involvement of the society in the process, such as screening and scoping.

“Screening and scoping stages of construction determine whether the project necessitates an EIA report. It is precisely at these stages that it is decided whether the project is worth proceeding with or not. In Georgia, however, the EIA is just a formality; this is confirmed by the way public discussions are going,” says Dato Chipashvili, representative of Green Alternative organization.

Therefore, as European Union’s Directorate-General for the Environment tells us through its press service, it is necessary for power over conduction of EIA to become accessible to the society: “Regardless of the case, a dialogue between the government’s authorized representatives and all interested parties is important at the project’s initial stage for it to proceed.”

Georgia’s Environment Protection Ministry is already working on this issue. The bill it is going to propose will be discussed by the Parliament before the end of this year.

“The main thing about the new bill envisioning EIA is that involvement of the society will be taken to a whole new level. Every single citizen who is able and interested in this or that project will be held informed at its earliest stage and his opinions on it will be taken into consideration,” says Maia Bitadze, vice Environment Minister.

But before the codex reflecting the EU directives takes effect, Georgia’s Energy Ministry is very actively signing memorandums of understanding with companies in charge of various hydropower projects. A few weeks ago, one of these was signed with Feri, a company in charge of building, owning and operating the Oni Cascade HPP. Denizens of the Racha region, however, are fiercely opposed to the project proceeding without their involvement.

“They are actively trying to circumvent the people with this project. They care nothing about the people’s opinions, the nature or anything else – the only thing that interests them is profit. We want them to come here, talk to them, hear them explain themselves and maybe reach some sort of mutual understanding. The fact that this is not happening is what pains us most,” says Giorgi Khomasuridze, a resident of Oni.
Director of Feri company Lasha Iordanishvili promises to take the people’s opinion into account, howegeotv.gever:
“The local population will be informed about the project and our plans from top to bottom. Their observations will be considered. We are planning to start construction after receiving the permit, which should not come later than summer of 2016.”

Lack of public involvement is the hot topic of other hydropower projects in Georgia as well, such as the Nenskra HPP planned to be built in Svaneti region. All legal and technical details pertaining to the project have already been sorted out and mobilization for the construction effort will begin in a few days.

“The investors try to make sure as few people as possible hear about the projects’ public discussions. In the Nenskra HPP case, for example, only two people have accidentally discovered that the project’s EIA report was discussed on June 1 and 2,” says Dato Chipashvili.

Nato Subari, a local denizen, did not attend these public discussions, but she is convinced that erecting a hydropower plant at Nenskra River would lead to serious problems:

“Every spring, a landslide occurs at the slope at the river’s source, causing a flood. If the river gets dammed, that flood might not only destroy the dam itself but also completely wreck whatever is nearby. This hydropower plant threatens our village with utter decimation.”

However, the Energy Ministry counters the dissenting voices by saying that boosting the country’s energy production is their top priority.

“It is very important for Georgia to have all these HPPs – namely, Khudoni, Nenskra, Oni and Namakhvani – in order to have better yearly regulation and generate more electricity during the winter period that is usually associated with energy deficit. Priorities vary, though, and everyone’s interests should be considered – as long as their complaints are accompanied by solid argumentation,” says Liza Tavdumadze, head of the ministry’s investment projects department.

At the moment, there are 86 hydropower plants active in Georgia, with the potential of constructing 91 more. The amount of HPP projects implemented before the new EIA legislation takes effect depends on the whims of energy and environment ministries.

Nenskra Hydropower Plant construction launched

Partnerhsip Fund is constructing a 280 megawatt Nenskra Hydropower Plant together with Korean company K-Water in Svaneti region on the tributary of Enguri River. The HPP is expected to produce 1.2 billion kilowatts of electricity per year. The plant will start operating in 2019 and the project is planned to be fully completed by 2021. Nenskra HPP is estimated to have a total cost of about $1 billion USD. Its construction will be financed by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of Korea. The construction of the HPP is being carried out by an Italian company Salini Impregilo.

Tamta Jijavadze
Other Stories
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
Biblusi opens first shop for tourists - Georgian
The largest book shop in Georgia Biblusi opens the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it Georgian.
Georgia improves by five ranks in the Prosperity Index
In the overall Prosperity Index rankings, Georgia has climbed by 5 positions from 85 to 80 when compared to last year. As such, Georgia is the best performing country in the CIS zone.
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones.
Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana
It’s a tiny creature, but the harm it did to the Georgian agriculture sector was and still is immense.
New cable route: from Kobi to Gudauri in 15 minutes
On the 15th of December, cable transport is scheduled to be opened connecting Kobi and Gudauri.
Tourist boom in Gudauri – majority of hotels are booked by foreigners
Gudauri is among the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the last 9 months, Georgia was visited by 19 500 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes.
Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America
According to the Doing Business 2019 report published by the World Bank, Georgia ranked 6th among 190 countries in terms of simplicity of doing business. This was an improvement over two ranks compared to last year.
Problems that foreigners frequently face in Georgia
The importance of Georgia as a tourism hub is growing year after year.
Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower – Better than the Eiffel Tower?
It is planned to renovate the Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower, one of the landmarks in the capital.
Georgian Fusion Menu by The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi
5,895,914 international visitors have visited Georgia between January and August of 2018. Compared to the previous year the number has increased by 12.2 per cent.
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia. Those who violate the new rule would be fined GEL 10 000.
Lebanese café-lounge Beirut opens in Tbilisi
What is necessary to organize an unforgettable event? – Fun, emotions, lots of surprises, good music and delicious menu.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
February 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28