63% of the Construction Work is Already Complete Shuakhevi HPP:
- Investment – 416 million USD;
- Installed capacity of 187 MW;
- Power generation starting date – 2017;
- Average production – 450 Gigawatt Hours (GWH).
The Shuakhevi HPP construction is currently in its main phase. The project will be complete in a year and Georgia will have a power station capable of generating 187 MW of clean power. Power produced by the plant will be supplied to the Georgian population during the winter months. During the summer when there is a surplus of power generation in Georgia, electricity will be exported to Turkey. Construction of the Shuakhevi HPP is managed by the project’s deputy director, Mr. Josh Gerard.
– Mr. Gerard, what is the current state of the Shuakhevi HPP construction?
– We have made a lot of progress in project construction. As you are aware, the Shuakhevi Hydropower Plant is one of the largest investments in Georgia’s infrastructure.
Construction of the Shuakhevi HPP is currently 63% complete in terms of civil work, 68% complete in terms of electrical/mechanical work and 63% complete for the overall project.
The estimated completion date for the Shuakhevi power house is the first quarter of 2017 inclusive of commissioning both units (turbines and generators).
– The tunnels through which the Shuakhevi HPP cascades will be connected are, in total, 38 km long. What is the progress of tunnel construction? What difficulties do you face during the construction process?
– Before we started the project, we conducted many surveys and studies. Based on these studies we were aware of all the potential difficulties we might face and were ready to deal with these challenges. The project is being constructed by the team of professionals, and there are no difficulties which they cannot solve. For the current phase, 72% of the work is complete.
I think that our main challenge is safety. It is important that the project be carried out with maximum consideration for all safety concerns. There are very strict safety rules in place for each construction site, and these are strictly followed by employees and visitors. I consider this to be our main challenge during the construction of not only tunnels, but also of dams and the power house. Safety is our main priority.
– What benefits will construction of the Shuakhevi HPP bring to Georgia?
– First of all I would like to talk about the construction process.
650 Georgian citizens, most of whom live in the mountains of Adjara, are employed in both the project construction and in the many social projects which we are conducting.
The project has created new jobs – and many people have gained valuable experience in the process. As a result, the Georgian labour market will have new professional staff after the project is complete. We are also implementing a number of social projects whose aim is to help the long-term development of mountainous Adjara. These include a number of infrastructure projects, such as road construction, school and kindergarten facilities and water system rehabilitation. In addition, were are conducting a variety of educational projects and are helping people who live in the area develop small businesses. We try to stand by and support every person living in the project area, and it is very important for us that all of them feel that their quality of life has improved.
Also, after the Shuakhevi HPP starts producing electricity, Georgia will have a power station capable of producing more than 187 MW of clean power. Power produced by the plant will be supplied to the Georgian population during the winter months and exported to Turkey during the summer months when there is a surplus of electricity in Georgia.
At the same time it is important to mention that, since we are building property, we are paying property taxes which go towards local municipal budgets. We have already paid approximately 3 million Georgian lari in property taxes, and this amount will only increase after construction is complete. In doing so, we are helping to contribute to the financial prosperity of the municipalities where our plants will be located.
– This is the first hydro project which you are implementing in Georgia. What is it like working with Georgian colleagues?
– Working with Georgian colleagues has been very interesting, and it has been a pleasure both for myself and for the other foreign staff to work with them. I have worked in many countries, but never have I met such warm and hospitable people.
All of the Georgian colleagues that I work with on a daily basis are true professionals. Their contribution to the successful completion of the Shuakhevi HPP project has been extremely important in terms of bringing the project to its current state of development.
I would also like to mention that I actively follow developments in Georgian current events and often meet and talk with people from different generations. From this I can see that this country is clearly on a path to development. Georgia is developing fast and the younger generations expect a better future for their country.
– 2016 is coming soon. This will be the most significant year yet for your project. What are your expectations? Do you expect any special difficulties during the final phase of the project construction?
– Construction is progressing rapidly and soon the Shuakhevi HPP will be added to Georgia’s power generating resources. I think 2015 was a successful year and would like to thank each person for the huge contribution that they made towards the completion of the project.