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Constructing of biggest Nenskra HPP in independent Georgian history begins

By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 18
Today the construction process of the biggest HPP since Georgia gained independence, Nenskra HPP in Svaneti western mountainous region, officially started.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibahsvili stressed that the 280 megawatt HPP, worth $1 billion USD, would play a crucial role for Georgia’s energy stability.

“The HPP will be the guarantee that our energy field is more sustainable and safe,” Garibashvili said, noting that the energy produced by the HPP would replace imported energy in winters.

The construction phase of the project is due to end sometime in 2021, however the Nenskra HPP will start producing electricity from 2019.

The HPP is expected to annually produce 1.2 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour. The Nenskra HPP construction will be based on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) structure, according to which the investor is obliged to build the HPP, operate it for 35 years then transfer ownership of the HPP to the state.

The Korea Water Resources Corporation (K Water) is one of the project’s major investors, while the construction works will be carried out by the Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo.

NGO Green Alternative reads that if the Nenskra HPP is constructed it will result in the cutting of 400 hectares of forest in Svaneti and will change the natural landscape of the western Georgian region, which is especially attractive for tourists.

The NGO also reads that the change of the climate of the area will cause worsening of health of locals and melting of icy slopes.

Svaneti residents have been protesting the construction and vow that they will not allow big HPPs on their land. The process of constructing big HPPs was launched under the previous government. The current state leadership promised before their election that they would have suspended the process as it might have been harmful to the environment. However, when elected, the building of HPPs has become one of the state priorities. Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze has stated that the country required energy and big HPPs.