YEREVAN (Arka) – Armenia and Iran are looking for a new investor for the construction of a hydropower plant at Arax River near the town of Meghri in southern Armenia, according to the Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Hayk Harutyunyan.
Harutyunyan discussed the latter on Tuesday during a parliamentary discussion on the draft budget for 2018.
According to an agreement signed between Armenia and Iran back in 2007, the hydroelectric power plant, which was to straddle the border river, was to have the capacity to produce 130 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Construction of the power plant was to start simultaneously in Armenia’s Meghri and Iran’s Qarachilar. Each of the stations was to annually produce 793 million kW / h of electricity.
According to Iranian authorities, the construction was to last for five years and cost $323 million. The funding was to come from an Iranian investment company. This project was designed to give an additional boost to economic development of the region and give also a fresh impetus to improving the efficiency of bilateral economic programs.
The feasibility work was done by Iranian consulting company Sagab-Gods. The generated energy was to be shipped to Iran via a 230 KW transmission line now under construction. After the facility was to be built it was to be operated for 15 years by the Iranian Farat-Sepasat. The electricity was to be supplied to Iran to pay off the Iranian investment. After 15 years of operation, the hydropower was to become the property of Armenia.
“Although the agreement has long been in force, the Iranian company has not made any investments to this day, so the governments of Armenia and Iran must look for another investor,” said Harutyunyan
The foundation laying ceremony for the Meghri hydropower plant was held on November 8, 2012. However, due to environmental problems related to the reduction of water volume in the Arax River, as well as the increase of water intakes from Turkey in the northern part of Armenia, it was necessary to revise this project towards capacity reduction to about 100 MW, according to the deputy minister.