The third phase of the 160-MW Zelenchukskaya hydroelectric project went into operation in December on the Kuban River in Russia’s Karachay-Cherkessia Republic.
Officials of utility monopoly Unified Energy Systems (UES), hydro operator HydroOGK, and regional government officials took part in a ceremony marking completion of the work.
Construction of Zelenchukskaya began in the 1970s but stalled due to lack of financing. Work resumed in the late 1990s when UES included the project in its investment program. (HNN 8/9/06)
The project’s first 80-MW unit was commissioned in 1999, followed by a second in 2002. Since then Zelenchukskaya has generated up to 190 million kWh, nearly one-fifth of Karachay-Cherkessia’s electricity.
Phase 3, costing 1.5 billion rubles (US$60 million), involved construction of 30 kilometers of tunnels and channels to supply more water to the project from mountain rivers. The result is to increase project generation to 500 million kWh without installing additional equipment.
UES said Zelenchukskaya is the first plant of a chain of hydroelectric projects to be built in the republic. According to HydroOGK’s investment program, the next plant, 106-MW Verkhne-Krasnogorskaya, will be started in 2007.