New hydro plant is coming up in Dariali Gorge
02 June, 2011
New hydro plant is coming up in Dariali Gorge

Georgian energy sector goes ahead with implementation of Hydro Power Plant development project aimed at having about 30 new HPPs in Georgia by 2018 that will enhance the energy export potential of Georgia.

An agreement was signed between the government of Georgia and company Dariali Energy on May 19, 2011 on construction of a new Hydro Power Plant (HPP) in Georgian highlands of Kazbegi, Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region, on the river Tergi  - one of the powerful rivers of Georgia.

The nameplate rating of

the Dariali hydro power plant will be 109 megawatt (mgw) and about USD 135 million is supposed to be invested in the project. Dariali Energy is founded by Georgian Peri LLC, construction company and the US-based Robins, one of the famous producers of tunnel digging machinery, Aleksandre Khetaguri, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, said during the presentation event.

Representatives of the Embassy of USA to Georgia, LTD “Electricity System Commercial Operator” and LTD “Energotrans” attended the signing event.

Construction works will start in October of 2011 and will end by end of 2014 tentatively. However Lasha Iordanishvili, Director General of Dariali Energy, hopes to get through construction works even by end of 2013 if everything goes smooth. Construction of the tunnel is scheduled to launch this year and the American Robins will be implementing all tunnel-related works.

The Dariali HPP project is supposed to revive social-economic picture in Kazbegi, a difficult mountainous landscape bordering with Russia. The Dariali HPP generated electricity will be consumed in winter locally and exported in summer, Khetaguri said.

“It will create jobs and improve social-economic situation in Kazbegi,” he said.

According to him, the HPP construction campaign goes on in scheduled timetables. Construction works on seven new HPPs  that started in 2009 are underway, construction of five HPPs starts this year. There will be 16 new HPPs in Georgia by 2015. All in all the number will increase to 30 by 2018. And as far as the Black Sea Transmission line been under construction works at the moment is supposed to be put into operation by 2012 Georgia will be exporting electricity to Turkey and even farther to Syria, Iraq and Balkan countries.

Georgia is electricity exporter starting 2007 and government supports construction of HPPs to expand the export potential. Georgia has about 40 billion kwt/h of potential electricity and only 18-20% [about 8 billion kwt/h] is utilized by today.  On the other hand Europe has completely utilized its HPP potential, Revaz Arveladze, President of Georgian Energy Academy, said. Therefore Georgian energy sector is attractive to foreign investors. However, the much trumpeted export potential of Georgia seems over-estimated in a long run perspective.

According to Arveladze, Georgia has excessive electricity at the moment because Georgian economy is underdeveloped.  If Georgian economy develops on the level of European economy in 30 years it will face deficit in electricity supply specifically during winter and will completely consume this 40 billion kwt/h of estimated electricity potential, and will implement export only during summer and development of alternative energy sources will be put on the agenda.

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