- Posted January 24, 2014 by
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Georgia's Newest Efforts to Utilize its Vast Hydroenergy Potential
As of today, the Republic of Georgia boasts a foray of underutilized hydro energy potential – a mere 18% of what's possible. With a network of over 25000 rivers, the total annual potential capacity of 15000 MW is only partially realized through the Enguri and Vardnili Hydro Power Plants, stationed on the Enguri river (one of the three largest in the country) and still only generating a little more than a half of what the waterway offers.
The Enguri and Vardnili HPPs, however, are just a part of a larger plan of a dam cascade first outlined in 1912, with the final green light being given in 1978. However, in 1988 the construction of the Khudoni HPP was halted, and efforts to revitalize the project have been flaring up since 1992.
It wasn’t until 2005 that the World Bank agreed to provide technical aid to the project, financing three parallel assessment procedures which included an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) from the BRL/ARS Consortium, a technical and economic assessment by Stucky-Colenco, and a strategic research from SEEC, which was to determine the feasibility of all alternate power sources and pinpoint priorities in that field. The latter showed that the location of the Khudoni HPP was the best option available.
As of 2009, the Khudoni HPP has been inducted in the World Bank’s project list, making it one of the world’s 100 largest infrastructural initiatives. After further agreements and assessments conducted by the investor company in conjunction with Trans Electrica Ltd, the project plan has been outlined entirely and is set to begin construction, albeit having encountered sizable hurdles for its controversial social-economic impacts.
We at SIPI believe in the project’s potential to bring a stronger foundation to Georgia’s steps into independent energy, and will continue to provide further developments and commentaries on it and, quite possibly, numerous other infrastructural commitments.