THE PRESIDENTS OF RUSSIA AND Georgia have agreed at a recent meeting in Sochi for the completion of the expansion work as well as improvements to dam safety at the Inguri hydro project, situated at the administrative border between Georgia and Abkhazia.

The proposed expansion aims to increase the capacity of the Inguri Plant to 1300MW from its current level of 400MW.

The project announced in November 2002 is funded in part by a long-term credit from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, along with funds from the European Union and Japan and the Georgian government.

Inguri dam, located on the Inguri river in western Georgia and completed in 1980, is a 272m high double curvature arch dam with a crest length of 680m.

As a result of dam safety concerns identified by Georgia, funding for the partial immediate remedial work on the dam was secured from the European Union. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development allocated US$38.5M in October 1998, to finance the urgently needed repairs to the dam. This work was completed.

Georgia also plans to add hydroelectric capacity and repair some of the country’s existing hydro power facilities.

There are plans to construct two hydroelectric plants on the Rioni river, the 250MW Namakhvani and the 100MW Zhoneti, and the 40MW Minadze hydroelectric plant on the Kura river. Among other projects being discussed is the Kudoni hydro power plant, with possible use of its power by Russia.