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According to the Minister of Economy, Natia Turnava, if the Turkish company ENKA does not renew the terminated contract, the project may be implemented by the state. Turnava said that an arbitration dispute has not started with the company that was supposed to build Namakhvani HPP.
“We are in the process of negotiations. If we can not agree on the terms of ENKA’s return, we will start [the arbitration process], even if they leave the project by mutual agreement, and there are no conditions that will ultimately lose the Georgian project. We are confident that we will reach this agreement. We are trying our best to resolve the issue without arbitration and resolve it in such a way that the project will be open for implementation again”, Turnava said.
According to her, the state and other investors may not be fully involved, but most importantly, this problem has taught the government a lot:
“We have seen that such large projects need a different approach from the government and more work. We have high hopes that Namakhvani HPP will be built and it will happen with the active involvement of the state”, Natia Turnava said.
If Namakhvani HPP was built, it would have become the largest energy project in the country’s history since independence. The project was to be implemented by Turkey’s largest construction company and cost $ 800 million, although the company terminated its contract with Georgia on September 22, 2021.
The government, which was the main lobbyist for the project, claimed that the proclaimed risks associated with the project were exaggerated and that Georgia would face serious energy security problems in a few years without the construction of new hydropower plants.
Protest movement and resistance of public groups towards the construction of the Namakhvani HPP lasted for almost a year.
For months, tents were set up near Namakhvani and activists prevented heavy equipment from being moved in there. In the spring, the protest moved to Tbilisi.