China’s Sichuan Electric has successfully tested the first 12MW generating unit at the Khador hydroelectric power plant in the Pankiski Gorge in Georgia, according to the Interfax news agency. The second unit, also of 12MW, will be tested later this year.

Construction of the 24MW plant started in the spring of 2001 and is expected to cost a total of US$27M. Sichuan Electric, which has a 93% stake in the joint venture building the plant, will operate the plant for 20 years, after which it will be transferred to Georgia.

All the plant’s electricity will be purchased by Wholesale Energy Market of Georgia and supplied to towns and villages in eastern Georgia.