BY MARIANNA MKRTCHYAN
YEREVAN—US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said in a press conference on Friday that Armenia and the US company ContourGlobal will sign an agreement on the Vorotan Hydropower Plant Cascade shortly.
The ambassador called it a very important investment project for both Armenia and the United States. Furthermore, he said, it will be the biggest investment project of the U.S. in Armenia. Heffern said the project, at $250 million, is several times larger than the United States’ previous investments in Armenia. The diplomat is sure that the given agreement will enable Armenia to diversify its energy sector.
In January of 2014, ContourGlobal and the Government of Armenia announced that they signed an agreement for ContourGlobal to purchase and modernize the Vorotan Hydro Cascade, a series of three hydroelectric power plants along the Vorotan River producing a total of 405 megawatts of electricity, for a purchase price of $180 million. ContourGlobal has pledged to invest $70 million over the next six years in a refurbishment program to modernize the plants and improve their operational performance, safety, reliability, and efficiency. The Public Services Regulatory Commission has already approved the tariff plan for the consistent exploitation of the Vorotan Cascade for the coming 25 years by ContourGlobal.
The Armenian government of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian stalled the deal soon after taking office. Analysts have speculated that the deal may have angered Moscow, who is the sole foreign owner of most of Armenia’s energy infrastructure.