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Controversy over Paravani HEPP

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, July 9
The Paravani Hydro-electric Power Plant’s (HEPP) construction is almost over. But it represents yet another energy project causing controversy.

The HEPP Project site is located between the settlements of Ahalkalaki and Khertvisi, about 30-40 Km from the Turkish-Georgian Border in the southeast of Ahaltsikhe. The facility is planned to have an annual total energy production of 450.7 GWh and an installed output of 85.8 MW having a net head of 390.70 m.

HEPP construction was launched in 2010 and soon will be operational. However, residents of Village Khertvisi are against the launching.

According to the residents of Khertvisi, after launching the project, the utilized water will run to the Mtkvari River and the development might increase the threat of flooding. People are holding rallies and blocking the main road.

“We believe that the HEPP will put the region at risk, and we are already facing problems caused by the Mtkvari. If the process continues we will lose our agricultural lands,” says one of the residents Shalva Davitashvili.

“The lower part of the village, including the cemetery and even the basements of houses may be flooded. We had information that the owner company would build protective dams, but there is not a single one there, local Zaira Kavtaradze suggested.

Aspindza Municipality Governor Levan Tsabadze shares the people’s fears about the risks.

“The threat really exists; people have already addressed us concerning this issue. However, we failed to find any solution yet,” stated Tsabadze.

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Kakha Kaladze said that the project would be launched in the coming days.

“I have no information about the flood risks and protection dams, but I will clear-up the issue as soon as possible,” stated the minister.

The Green Alternative also shares these fears.

“About 80% of the Paravani’s water will be thrown to the Mtkvari River. Of course, the situation causes threats,” the NGO claims.

The development plan for the River of Paravani took final shape early in the 1990’s upon conclusion of the studies by Hydroproekti, the scientific design institute, and was approved by the Ministry of Urbanization and Construction.

Currently it is hoped that the HEPP will supply Georgia with energy during winters and other seasons as well and will be sold in Turkey. However, It remains unclear whether the HEPP will reduce electricity fees or not.