TBILISI/JUNE 9 2021 (The Bulletin) — After months of protests, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili said that he wanted to renegotiate the terms that Turkish construction company Enka and Norway’s Clean Energy Group were given to build and run the Namakhavani Hydropower Plant in the Rioni Valley in the west of the country.
Protesters have said that the project, slated to be Georgia’s biggest hydropower plant, damages the countryside and is too lenient towards the foreign investors. The government has said that the Namakhavani Hydropower Plant is vital for its future energy generation projects as it will boost energy production by 15% and must go ahead.
Protesters have blocked access to the site for the past seven months and staged rallies in both Kutaisi and Tbilisi which have attracted thousands of people. Police have made several arrests at some of the protests in the Rioni Valley after clashes with demonstrators.
Enka Renewables, in which Enka owns a 90% stake and Clean Energy Groups owns a 10% stake, signed an $800m deal to build and run the Namakhavani hydropower plant with Georgia in April 2019.
— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021
— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021