Economy, News

Enguri hydro power station is still on Georgian hands

by | Nov 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Energy Minister says Enguri hydro power station has not been sold but is the property of Georgia. He says there were negotiations regarding the facility but they were suspended.

Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze does not comment about a disputed document which the previous government signed with the Russian state-owned company Inter RAO in early 2009. The terms of the negotiation remain secret.

Enguru hydro power station, which was built on the river Enguri, is the most powerful of its kind in South Caucasus, and still remains Europe’s biggest. It produces 5.46 billion KWh of electricity a year on average. Its unique arch dam is built in concrete and steel.

Height is 271.5 meters, length – 728, 90 meters at the ground, 52 meters – middle. The crown of 605 of the dam is gigantic with 123 meters of right and left props.

The dam has the form of a sky arch and is bent in an arc shape. Engineers called its form a two arched curve. The form increases the resistance to water flow. The bedrock has the form of a saddle and is separated from the arc dam by perimeter stitches. The saddle height is 15-20 meters, 60 meters – lower. This construction is considered unique.

Enguri hydro power station is built on the river Enguri and is located both on territory controlled by Georgia as well as Abkhazian territory, which is currently occupied by Russia. The dam is on the territory of Georgia, while the electric station is on Abkhazian territory. Even though there was a war 20 years ago and ensuing conflict, Georgia and Abkhazia has been able to manage the installation together and no problems have ever arisen. The energy minister says 1.2 billion KWh energy was distributed to Abkhazian territory annually without payment.

In the beginning of 2009, five months after the Russo-Georgian war, the Georgian government signed a memorandum with the Russian state-owned company Inter RAO, but the terms of the memorandum are secret.

Representatives of the company made a statement about the agreement first, saying that they signed it with Georgia for effective exploitation of Enguri power station on December 28, 2008.

Signatories are Evgeny Dodi, chair of Inter RAO, and Alexandre Khetaguri, who used to be Energy Minister.

According to the Russian company, the parties agreed to prepare no less than a ten-year program for effective exploitation of the power station.

Georgian officials first commented on January 12, 2012, after a period of controversy. The energy minister then said that 100 percent of Enguri power station would remain the property of the state and there would be common management. Alexandre Khetaguri also said that a common council would be set up, staffed by representatives of Georgia and Inter RAO.

The minister said there were three reasons for making this step: the financial interests of Georgia, the safety of Enguri power station and the safety of the whole energy system.

The conditions in the memorandum are secret despite demands by society to publish it. The government argued that the memorandum applies to a private company, Inter RAO, and concerns the interests of a private company, and therefore couldn’t be published. But the majority of lawyers claim that the government must acquiesce to the public interest as the power station is state property and the issue shouldn’t be decided in favor of a private company.

Kakha Kaladze, Georgia’s new energy minister, said that Enguri power station remains the property of the state and it is important for the new government to defend the interests of Georgia regarding agreements about power stations in Georgia.

“It is important for us what Georgia’s interests in those agreements are. They will be reviewed. I want our ministry to be transparent. All these should become public.”



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