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Nenskra hydro power plant

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The Nenskra hydropower plant is a hydroelectric dam planned on the Nenskra River, Upper Svaneti, Georgia. Located on the southern slopes of the Central Caucasus mountains and upstream of Khudoni Hydro Power Plant, the plant would have a capacity of 280 MW. The project is being implemented by JSC Nenskra Hydro, a joint venture of the Georgian state-owned Partnership Fund and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water).[1]


The Nenskra river is 43 km long with a watershed area of 623 km². The river is sustained by numerous glaciers, rain, snow, and ground water. During the spring and summer seasons, the river is susceptible to flooding; in the winter, the river is shallow. In the colder months when domestic electricity supplies are in high demand, the rivers do not produce a sufficient amount of energy. Georgia's electricity imports have increased over the years, displaying a deficiency in electrical supplies and energy.[2] In August 2015, Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo won the engineering and construction tender, which was worth $575 million.[3] According to Salini Impregilo, the Nenskra Hydroelectric Project will supply the energy needed during the winter season and help export capacity in the summer. Construction for the project started in September 2015, and is said to last for 62 months. The project is planned for completion by 2020, but receive high protests from local inhabitants that claim potential negative impacts have not been properly assessed.[4]

Technical Description[edit]

The hydropower project has a capacity of 280 MW, and should on average generate approximately 1.2 GWh for Georgia, with a guaranteed supply of 259 GWh during winter months. Generated power will be distributed through a 220 kV transmission line to Akhari-Jvari substation.[5]

Nenskra Powerhouse[edit]

The Nenskra HPP will have a powerhouse on the left side of the Nenskra river. The powerhouse will store three vertical Pelton turbines, each with a capacity of 93 MW. The power will transmitted through a Gas Insulated Station Yard (GIS) and will travel to a new Khudoni Substation. Water will be transferred through a 15.6 km long and 4.5 m wide headrace tunnel to the turbines. The powerhouse is near the headrace tunnel, which will branch into three separate penstocks to connect to the turbines. Water is taken from the reservoir to a tunnel through a water intake located on the left bank of the reservoir, creating a 130 m high asphalt faced-rockfill dam. In addition, three low-pressure dams are to be built in the Nakra river valley. The powerhouse will be located within the Chuberi Community in the Mestia Municipality.

Nenskra Dam & Nakra Weir[edit]

The asphalt-face rockfill dam will be located on the upper Nenskra River and will be 130 metres (430 ft) high and 870 metres (2,850 ft) long. It will create around 176 million cubic meters of live storage. [6] The dam will steer the flows of both the Nenskra and Nakra river upstream to the existing Khudoni reservoir.

The Nakra Weir will be approximately 8.7 metres (29 ft) high and 44 metres (144 ft) long. The weir is built for water control and diversion; the Nakra tunnel will assist the water flow in entering the reservoir.


The reservoir will be about 182 million cubic metres (148,000 acre⋅ft) and will be flowed directly by Nenskra River and indirectly by Nakra River via a transfer tunnel. This transfer tunnel will be 14.4 kilometres (8.9 mi) long and 4.5 metres (15 ft) wide.[7] The cost of the project is about US$1 billion.


Social Impacts[edit]

Some 400 families live in close by villages (Chuberi and Nakra). The majority are Svans, an ethnic subgroup of Georgia's Caucasus mountains with their own language, laws and traditions. The traditions, culture, and identity of the Svans' is rooted in their mountain location. For generations, they have lived in isolation and self-dependence and their livelihoods depend on forestry, grazing and subsistence agriculture.[8] Approximately 28 households will be affected by the project's land acquisition phase, either through permanent loss of land or temporary loss of access to pastures near the dam and reservoir sites. [9]

Geological & Environmental Impacts[edit]

"[From a] nature preservation point of view, not all of these larger [rivers] like Enguri and smaller rivers like Nenskra and Nakra should be used for hydropower generation." Prof. Dr. Frank Schrader, International Consultant on Hydropower, in his review of the Nenskra ESIA.[10]

The project site was originally proposed to be included within the European system of protected areas as the ‘Svaneti 1’ Emerald site. In January 2016 the Georgian government attempted to exclude all territories to form part of the planned Nenskra project, without providing any evidence that the Nenskra and Nakra valleys are less important in terms of biodiversity than the rest of the Svaneti region. This resulted in a complaint to the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats for a violation of a number of articles of the convention.[11]

The dam construction will also include constructions of bypass and access roads, high voltage transmission lines and substations. These construction may increase landslides.[12] An indirect result of this project is also the increased chance of flooding because of the mudflows. These mudflows have the potential of blocking the Nakra river, creating flooding upstream. Svaneti is a landslides and mud-flows sensitive area. The local cemetery and agricultural fields of the village of Nakra are regularly flooded by mud-flows.[12] These mudflows have the potential of blocking the Nakra river, creating flooding upstream. Yet according to a review of the Nenskra Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), the geologic hazards and potential adverse impacts on locals have not been properly evaluated.[10]

Economic Impacts[edit]

The projects aims to create jobs for the locals from the Nenskra and Nakra valleys for construction purposes. The project aims to hire 100% of the unskilled workers in the region, and will expand to other locations if understaffed. Around 80% of the hires will be Georgian citizens. The majority of the workers hired, however, will be let go after the conclusion of the construction.[13] The demobilization process will lead to a decrease in income, and possible social unrest. Currently, there is no clear plan of action to deal with the demobilization.


Hundreds of people regularly protest against the project. On April 2016, around 400 local Chuberi residents signed collective letters addressing the financial lenders and authorities requesting the cessation of the project until further clarification on the potential risks and alternative projects. With no response to the letter, eight activists protested against the construction, blocking the access road to the construction site. They were arrested in May 2016 and released after being imposed financial penalties.[14] Later that year, in July 2016, approximately two hundred locals and environmental activists gathered again in Chuberi in Upper Svaneti demanding that the construction project come to a halt until alternative projects could be found and the consequences could be properly assessed in close cooperation with the local community.[15]

Indigenous Svan Communities[edit]

On 5 March 2018, representatives of all 17 communities of Upper Svaneti gathered in Mestia for a traditional Svan Council meeting, Lalkhor, to oppose the development of gold mining and hydropower projects in Svaneti that threaten local livelihoods and ecosystems.

The protesters restated their demands – discontinuation of over 50 dam projects, including the Khudoni Hydro Power Plant, Nenskra dams, and the Mestiachala hydropower plant.

The Lalkhor came up with the joint statement and developed a petition addressing the Georgian government, diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia, and international financial institutions.

The Lalkhor demands to recognize Svans as ancient, indigenous, aboriginal, autochthonic people with appropriate rights for customary and community property in Svaneti and to ban development of any infrastructure without their prior consent. [16]

Financing & Policies[edit]

Involvement of International Financial Institutions & Investors[edit]

These international institutions and investors, also known as "Lenders", are involved in funding the Nenskra HPP Project: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), SACE, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and the Korean Development Bank.[17]

On 31 January 2018, the EBRD approved a loan of US$214 million and US$15 million in equity for construction of the Nenskra hydro power plant.[18]

Together, the Georgian Partnership Fund (PF) and the EBRD provided US$200 million towards the project, which has a total value of US$1 billion.

Contracts & Policies[edit]

Part of the Nenskra HPP contract has been disclosed, however, information related to the financing plan, energy rate, tax implications, put and call option are missing. The power purchase agreement (PPA) still remains confidential.[19]

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topic Georgia (country) : AMS Airlines, Georgia (country), Georgians in the United Kingdom

Other articles of the topic Energy : A-SUN Energy, Cielo Wind Power, MRC Global, Inc., China Windpower Group, Rusneftegaz, A Shade Greener Ltd., Grange Holdings Power Plant

Other articles of the topic Water : Upper Mai-C Hydropower Station, Kabeli B1 Hydropower Station, Chhandi Khola Hydropower Station, Sardi Khola Hydropower Station, Upper Puwa-1 Hydropower Station, Daram Khola-A Hydropower Station, PCDitch

Other articles of the topic Renewable energy : Golden Valley Wind Energy Facility, Upper Puwa-1 Hydropower Station, China Windpower Group, Upper Mai-C Hydropower Station, Puwa Khola-1 Hydropower Station, Chhandi Khola Hydropower Station, Kabeli B1 Hydropower Station

  • List of power stations in Georgia
  • Energy in Georgia (country)


  1. "Partnership Fund together with K Water signed the joint development agreement". Fund.ge. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  2. "Actual". Esco.ge. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  3. "signs a contract for the realization of the Nenskra hydroelectric project in Georgia, worth approximately $575 million". Salini Impregilo. 2015-09-16. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  4. "Nenskra hydropower plant, Georgia". Bankwatch.org. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  5. "Nenskra Hydroelectric Project - Salini Impregilo". Salini-impregilo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  6. "Nenskra Hydroelectric Project - Supplementary Environmental & Social Studies" (PDF). nenskra.ge. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  7. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/09/salini-impregilo-inks-us-575-million-epc-contract-for-georgian-280-mw-nenskra-hydroelectric-project.html
  8. "GreenAlt - Nenskra Report" (PDF). Greenalt.org. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  9. "Nenskra Hydropower Project Supplementary Environmental & Social Studies Volume 3: Social Impact Assessment" (PDF). nenskra.ge. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Review of Nenskra ESIA" (PDF). Bankwatch.org. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  11. "Nenskra hydropower project, Georgia" (PDF). Dfwatch.net. 2017-12-05. Retrieved 2018-02-26. CC-BY-SA icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Nenskra hydropower plant, Georgia | Bankwatch". Bankwatch.org. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  13. "Nenskra Hydropower Project Supplementary Environmental & Social Studies Volume 3: Social Impact Assessment" (PDF). nenskra.ge. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  14. "Eight activists arrested in Nenskra power plant protests". Dfwatch.net. 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  15. "Protests resume against the Nenskra hydro power plant in Svaneti". Dfwatch.net. 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  16. Template:Https://bankwatch.org/blog/svan-communities-block-hydro-development-in-svanetia CC-BY-SA icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
  17. "Nenskra Hydropower Plant - Key Facts". Bankwatch.
  18. "[Campaign update] More EBRD cash for Georgia dams should be cautionary tale for other development banks". Dfwatch.net. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-02-26. CC-BY-SA icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
  19. "Comments on the Nenskra HPP project revised Supplementary E&S Studies" (PDF). Dfwatch.net. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-02-26. CC-BY-SA icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

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