Rally held in western Georgia to protest Namakhvani HPP construction

  • Demanding ENKA Renewables to leave the Rioni gorge protesters say they will otherwise gather again on March 14 and hold permanent rallies. Photo: Tata Kachkachichvili/RFERL

Agenda.ge, 28 Feb 2021 - 19:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

Locals, activists and politicians gathered in the western Georgian town of Kutaisi to protest the construction of the Namakhvani hydro power plant (HPP) in the Imereti region. 

The protesters demand from the Enka Renewables (previously known as Clean Energy Group Georgia LLC) to leave the Rioni gorge and stop the preparations for the construction.

Claiming that the construction of the HPP poses threat to environment, locals and activists have set up tents close the construction site. Photo: Tata Kachkachishvili/RFERL

The Namakhvani HPP Cascade Project entails the construction of two hydroelectric power plants on the Rioni river in Georgia’s Tskaltubo and Tsageri municipalities:

  1. The Lower Namakhvani HPP - 333 MW
  2. The Upper Namakhvani HPP - 100 MW

Being implemented with a direct foreign investment of USD 800 million, the construction company says it is 'the largest energy project in the history of Georgia’s independence'.

Photo: Tata Kachkachishvili/RFERL

The Georgian government expects the HPP to provide Georgia with 12% of its electric energy needs once completed; around 1,600 citizens are expected to be employed for the project.

However, locals and activists have been patrolling the site for over 120 days now opposing to the construction. Saying no to 'giant' HPPs the protesters say the construction is illegal and against the will of the local population.