Georgia invites comment on studies of 640-MW Khudoni

Georgia’s Ministry of Energy invites public comment on feasibility and environmental studies of the proposed 640-MW Khudoni hydroelectric project on Georgia’s Enguri River.

The ministry received reports from: Colenco Power Engineering and Stucky of Switzerland on technical and economic feasibility; BRL Ingenierie and ARS Progetti of France and Italy on an environmental and social impact assessment; and SEEC of Serbia on a strategic environmental assessment. (HNN 7/18/07)

The partially built Khudoni is 38 kilometers upstream from 1,270-MW Enguri Dam on the Enguri River. Expected to cost US$600 million, Khudoni is to feature a 170-meter-tall arch dam and an underground powerhouse, with capacity that some estimates place as much as 700 MW.

Construction was started on the project in 1979, but halted in 1989 upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although a river diversion tunnel, bridge structures, roads, and a railroad track were built, their condition is reported to be highly deteriorated.

The ministry said the environmental and social impact assessment is the report prior to developing a full environmental impact assessment and resettlement action plan that would be needed should a decision be made to build the hydro project. The strategic environmental assessment places Khudoni in the context of other power supply alternatives.

Public consultations on the studies are scheduled July 28-31 in Jvari, Mestia, Khaishi, Zugdidi, and Tbilisi. The ministry is taking comments through August 8.

Copies of the documents may be obtained from the Ministry of Energy, 2, Baratashvili St., 5th Floor, Tbilisi, or at the local consultation meetings. Electronic versions may be obtained from the ministry’s Internet site, www.minenergy.gov.ge.

For information, contact Givi Kiknadze, Ministry of Energy, (995) 919281; E-mail: givi.kiknadze@minenergy.gov.ge.

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