Key Georgian and Abkhaz hydro power plant put on hold
The Ingur/i hydro power plant [straddling a river that is called Inguri by Georgians and Ingur by Abkhaz] has been halted and will resume operating in two weeks after it has been fault-checked ahead of a planned major overhaul.
The plant is a unique facility. It sits in the conflict zone and is the only joint project between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides. They share management of the plant and the electricity it generates.
“The Ingur hydro power plant has been put on hold because of the need to check its derivation tunnel. It will take until early March to complete the works,” head of the Abkhaz energy company Chernomorenergo Aslan Basaria told Abkhaz news agency Apsnypress.
The sides agreed to halt the plant at a meeting in Minsk in late January.
“For the time being, according to a scheme agreed between Russian, Georgian and Abkhaz energy specialists, 200 MW of electricity will be channeled from the Russian Federation [to Abkhazia] via the Salkhino-Psou power line. In addition, the Georgian side has undertaken to back us up, as both sides are interested to have the plant repaired to increase its power generating capacities.”
The Georgian energy ministry said in a statement that “as the plant remains halted, the Abkhaz territory will get most of what it needs to meet its power demand from the Russian energy system, while any supply gaps that may be created by increased electricity consumption on the Abkhaz territory will be bridged from sources of the Georgian energy system.”
The plant stopped on February 19. Georgian energy minister Kakha
Kaladze has said it will be suspended for full-scale repairs in 2018.
“It is only after the checks that we can know how long the power generation process will remain suspended,” Asland Basaria of the Abkhaz energy company said.
The Ingur/i hydro plant generates almost all of the energy consumed by Abkhazia. Straddling the Inguri River that serves as the natural boundary between Georgia and Abkhazia, it has its 270-meter-high dam situated on the Tbilisi-controlled territory, while all the five generators are in Abkhazia’s Gali region. An informal agreement between Tbilisi and Sukhumi makes Abkhazia entitled to 40% of all generated power, while the Georgian side uses 60%.
The opinions expressed in this report convey the author’s views and terminologies and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial staff