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Georgia freezes construction of new hydropower plants2013-04-02 17:53
It is believed that the previous government was wasteful in terms of spending money on major economic projects. New authorities have started to carefully check the projects of the previous government. Many of them are now suspended due to their inexpediency. One of such projects is the construction of the cascade of hydroelectric power station "Namahvani." But it seems, the matter is not only in the high cost of the project. International and local experts declare that the construction of the cascade requires a series of thorough engineering, environmental, and cultural studies.
It would seem strange, but the previous government of Georgia conducted a hydroelectric construction without designing, preliminary plans and drawings, in spite to the protests of the local population and environmental societies.
Today the situation is quite different. The new government has decided to closely examine the issues related to the construction of hydroelectric power plants prior to the actual process of the construction. Such "revision" has already been carried out at one of the cascade of the HPS in Khudo Gorge. After the examination, it was decided that the investor would not receive a building permit before the relevant authorities establish the degree of influence of the project on the environment. The activity of the public has played a role in making this decision.
Construction of small and medium-sized hydropower plants in Georgia has long been a subject of criticism of the environmental protection NGOs. Construction of hydropower plant in Stepantsminda was especially criticized. As it turns out, by the time the Kazbegi Municipality (North Georgia) is carrying out construction of the second HPS. Larsi HPS and Darial HPS are being built on the river Terek. If these two projects are fulfilled, the water of the river Terek get to the pipes; new HPS on the river Brolistskali is being implemented in accordance to the same plan.
In order to start the construction the company "Feri" has appealed to the Ministry of Environment to obtain the necessary decision of the ecological expertise.
In connection with the construction of the next stage of Kazbegi HPS the Ministry of the Environment has issued a negative decision. This was stated by the head of the department of environmental protection Tamar Sharashidze. According to her information, this decision has been certified by an individual legal act of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and sent to the local municipality for further responses.
In a statement Tamar Sharashenidze says that "the documentation provided by the builders is not complete, and therefore it is impossible to issue a document on the impact on the environment." In addition, Khudo Gorge is home for the Caucasian goat and serves as a refuge for these rare mammals the population of which is already quite small. The planned works involve the explosions, drilling and construction activities that adversely affect the existing goats, and the construction company has not taken into account the mitigation measures to minimize damage from the construction.
Note, it was planned to build 6 hydropower plants in Khudo Gorge, which wouldn't play big role for the energy sector of Georgia, but the result of the construction would have been really unpleasant.