Namakhvani HPP will no longer be built as Turkish company ENKA Renewables has terminated the construction project contract with the Georgian government, citing violation of the terms and force majeure. The information was published by the Enka Renewables parent company - ENKA SNSAAT on the Istanbul Stock Exchange on September 20.
ENKA terminates Namakhvani HPP project in western Georgia
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, September 23
The chairman of the Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze told the journalists that this is an unfortunate decision and pledged that everything would be done to ensure the country's energy independence. According to him, the government has a ten-year action plan, which envisages Attracting billions of dollars of investment in the energy sector.
“Ensuring energy independence is one of the country’s top priorities, not only in economic terms, but also in political and security terms. Therefore, this is a very bad signal for further investments, but the Georgian government will do its utmost to continue attracting them, especially in the energy field,” GD chair said.
The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia states that the ministry has received a preliminary notification from Enka about a possible withdrawal from the project one month later. As the ministry notes, the company plans to terminate the project in a month, which the ministry has been informed about in advance. Economy Minister Natia Turnava stated that over the next month the government would continue communication with the investor company “to find the right and, most importantly, the state-justified solution that will not harm our investment environment.”
According to Varlam Goletiani, the leader of the Rioni Gorge Defenders civic movement and organizer of rallies against the construction of the Namakhvani HPP, the termination of the contract is an important precedent. He believes that the agreement should not have been made in the first place and puts the government responsible for bringing the situation into a deadlock.
Turkish company ENKA gained the right to construct the Namakhvani HPP project in 2017. The project was to meet 20% of peak demand energy in the country and increase annual domestic generation by 15%, significantly improving the energy independence of Georgia.
Many activists and locals have been protesting the construction of the HPP, stating that the project was launched without sufficient research and thorough consideration of risks, including immediate security risks due to active seismic activity. Over ten months ago protests started in western Georgia as a result of which the Georgian government suspended the construction for 9 to 12 months for the environmental, geological, and seismological surveys.