Environmentally Hazardous Hydropower Plants in Armenia to Shut Down

Vorotan Hydropower Plant, one of the larger hydropower plants in Armenia
Vorotan Hydropower Plant, one of the larger hydropower plants in Armenia

Vorotan Hydropower Plant, one of the larger hydropower plants in Armenia (Source: Russian-Armenian News Agency)

YEREVAN (Arka)—All environmentally hazardous small hydropower plants across Armenia will be shut down regardless of who their owners are, nature protection minister Artsvik Minasyan said to reporters on November 2.

On October 27, Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan gave two weeks to relevant government bodies to assess the practicability of building new hydropower plants. He also suggested that pricing for hydropower plants aged 20 and more years be reconsidered in order to mitigate environmental problems.

“If necessary, we should revise a government plan on the development of small hydro power plants, approved in January 2009. It is necessary to check the situation not only on  small rivers, but also on larger ones – Akhuryan, Dzoraget, Debed, Azat, Arpa and Vorotan,” Karapetyan said.

According to him, in those cases where the number of hydro power plants is more than necessary, the problem should be resolved by limiting the provision of water use licenses.

“Regardless of who owns the hydropower plants, if they do not comply with environmental standards, we will ask the government to use appropriate sanctions. This implies cancellation of a license for water use,” Minasyan said. He said there is currently a large-scale inspection of the field.

In 1999-2000 there was an increase of construction of small hydropower plants in the country, facilitated by preferential tariffs on electricity in the amount of 17.2 drams per 1 kWh without VAT. According to PSRC, in 2015 small hydro power plants accounted for about 13% of the total electricity generation in the country.

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