Armenia, Iran agree to terms for new run-of-river hydropower projects

An agreement signed this week at the Armenian National Assembly will allow for the construction of two new hydropower projects along the Aras River on the Armenia/Iran border, has learned.

The two governments signed a agreements in 2007 and 2008 allowing for the construction of the 130-MW Meghri and 130-MW Karachilare (also spelled “Gharachilar” or “Ghare Chiler”) hydroelectric plants. The Meghri — under construction as of a November 2012 — will be located on the Armenian side, with the Karachilare to be located on the Iranian side.

As per draft laws adopted this week by the Armenian National Assembly, Iran will fund the construction of the US$400 million project in exchange for the electricity produced by the Meghri powerhouse until Armenia’s debt is repaid.

Sources said the repayment period will likely take 15 years, at which point Armenia will assume control of the hydropower plant.

Construction of the plants is being undertaken by the Farab Sepasad Company. Each powerhouse will include two 65 MW hydro turbines. Completion is expected within the next five years. reported in January 2012 that Iran had issued bonds worth about $240 million for the development of hydroelectric projects.

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