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Georgia to complete refurbishment of main hydropower plant in May

Enguri hydropower plant (HPP), the largest electricity producer in Georgia, which also supplies the Russian-occupied region of Abkhazia, is to restart in early May following a refurbishment aimed at expanding its capacity, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has announced.

As a result of the renovation of the Enguri HPP diversion tunnel, water losses will be reduced by 30% to 35%. That should mean an additional 100mn kWh of electricity generation per year.

The €42mn renovation of the HPP, the first such operation performed in more than 20 years, started in January.

A total of €7mn of the project cost will be met by the European Commission in the form of a grant, while the remainder will be paid with a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Enguri HPP plays a vital role in securing Georgia’s country's energy independence and security. Some 40% of the country’s power demand is met by this plant.

All five generators at the plant were shut down on January 20 for necessary. Urgent work is partly focused on damaged sections of the drainage tunnel. Large volumes of water have been leaking from the sections.

In order to begin repairing the tunnel, it was necessary to entirely empty it.

Abkhazia is receiving electricity from Russia to substitute for the power not presently available from the HPP.