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Shuakhevi HPP: Construction of The Largest Energy Project and Its Technologies

Shuakhevi HPP is the largest investment projects that has been carried out in Georgia, over the last 35 years, with its technical aspects. Shuakhevi HPP project is developed by Adjaristsqali Georgia – a joint venture between India’s Tata Power and Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (40 percent each), and the remaining 20 percent by the International Finance Corporation (IFC),

The Shuakhevi project is the first hydropower project in Georgia certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for carbon emission reductions.

The project will be constructed in Shaukhevi and Khulo Municipalities with the overall installed capacity of 187 MW (as well as an additional 9.8 MW on Skhalta River). The Shuakhevi scheme is comprised of two dams with reservoirs and one weir on the Adjaristsqali, Skhalta and Chirukhistsqali Rivers respectively.

Shaukhevi HPP

Shuakhevi HPP has utilized several modern technologies during construction including more modern concrete admixtures to produce longer lasting and more durable concrete, turbines with more modern protective coatings to reduce wear, and modern safety standards to ensure overall safety of the Project facilities.

Overall, the Project is nearly 80% complete.  Both dams are well underway and scheduled to be completed on time.  The excavation of the headrace tunnel is complete, and the tunnels from Skhalta to Didachara and from Chirukhistsqali to Skhalta are well advanced.

The Shuakhevi HPP will be comprised of 38 km of tunnels and adits. The construction of the tunnels was achieved by the drill and blast method.  The blasting was designed and tested to ensure the amount of explosives was sufficiently minimal not to damage surrounding the surrounding rock mass nor structures. There are three main tunnels at the Shuakhevi Project; a headrace tunnel from Chirukhistsqali to Skhalta (powering the Skhalta powerhouse), a transfer tunnel from Skhalta to Didachara, and the main headrace tunnel from Didachara to Shuakhevi (powering the Shuakhevi powerhouse).

Didachara to Shuakhevi HRT_HPHRT Rocktrap

The surface area of the Skhalta reservoir is approximately ~12ha at full supply level, with a volume of 0.75 mM3 live storage.  The surface area of the Didachara reservoir is approximately 15ha at full supply level, with a volume of 1.2 mM3 live storage.

The largest flows at the Project will occur during the spring snow melt during March, April, and May.  Any water that is in excess of the reservoir capacity, and that can not be used for generation, would be passed around the dam via the spillways located on each dam.

Sufficient minimal water is expected to be available even during the summer months to operate the power station. It will take longer time filling the reservoir during the summer months and less power generation per day.  The minimum operation level at the Didachara dam is El. 770.

Shuakhevi HPP

The Shukhevi HPP will generate electricity by utilizing the natural flow of water over a loss in elevation.  Water will flow from Chirukhistsqali to Skhalta dam; water from the Skhalta river will then be added and transferred via the Skhalta-Didachara tunnel to the Didachara reservoir, where water from the Adjaristsqali- and Ghorjomi river will be added, and cumulatively the water will be transferred via the headrace tunnel to the Shuakhevi powerhouse.  At the powerhouse water will turn the turbines (2 each) which in turn rotate the rotor heads with in the generators producing electricity.

Shuakhevi HPP

There are many supervising bodies that oversee the construction of the Shuakhevi HPP.  These range from the Ministry of Energy to the Technical Supervision Agency from the Government of Georgia.  The Lending institutions for the Project maintain and Independent Engineer that visits the project quarterly for a through quality, cost, and schedule review.  On a daily basis, there is an Owners Engineer (Mott MacDonald) present on the Project, whose staff in monitoring all facets of the construction works.  In addition, AGL maintains a supervisory staff to ensure compliance with design and specifications for the Project.

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Suakhevi HPP will finish 2016 and operation will start from 2017. The Operations and Maintenance team will be a combination for foreign staff and Georgian staff.  AGL is striving to identify and train as much of this overall staff from Georgia.