Khudoni hydro-power plant controversy continues
Author: By Salome Kobalava
The prospect of the second biggest hydro-power plant being constructed in Georgia (Khudoni) has spurred public controversy for the second time since 1979. In Soviet Georgia, construction was suspended as a result of a wave of national movements and the protests over environmental concerns in 1989.
Aiming to start construction on the 740 Megawatt capacity Khudoni hydro-power plant, which envisages a 205meter-high concrete arched dam and a 3.5 mln cubic meter artificial reservoir in April of 2012, Trans Electrica Ltd, an Indian company, has signed a deal with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia.
If the Environment and Social Impact Assessment document of the Khudoni project is approved by the Ministry, the construction will be launched. The hydro power plant will require 528 hectares of the highland Svaneti region to be covered by water, burying more than 260 families and others from adjacent settlements, as well as an 11th century church which was renovated in early 90’s and a village cemetery.
While attending a meeting with the interested public along with Trans Electrica officials on November 11, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mariam Valishvili once again underlined that the Georgian government is sticking to this gigantic hydro-power plant project as it will “best meet” the ever-increasing demands on energy consumption.