Looking down from the famous cross-path of the Georgian Military Highway, you will notice a beautiful little lake that was not there six years ago. The lake is a small reservoir that supplies power to the 8 MW Aragvi HPP. On May 19, the ISET community and guests from professional circles in energy sector heard the story behind this hydro power plant in a seminar entitled “Small Hydro power – what’s special about it and how to implement it?” delivered by Hanness Posch, a civil engineer and entrepreneur working on hydropower projects in Georgia.
Mr. Posch’s engagement with Georgia started soon after Austrian investors rebuilt the Gudauri Ski resort in 1986. Mr. Posch was invited as an engineer to prepare a hydropower project to ensure a stable power supply for the resort. In the meantime, while preparing the project on the Aragvi river, Gudauri investors sold their shares in the resort and Mr. Posch was left as the sole participant in the project without enough resources to implement it. After finding Georgian partners, a company was registered and long search for the necessary funding started. Years later in 2011, the Austro-Georgian company found the money and commenced construction of their first 8 MW Aragvi HPP project.
The vision of the partners has always been clear: to implement an environmentally responsible project using state of the art technologies. Building an HPP is a complex construction and engineering task that has not been completed without many lessons learnt by the team. After the project finished, the team analyzed some of the key factors of their success being:
• Intense cooperation between international and local companies and experts
• Local companies providing services to the maximum extent possible
• Mechanical & electrical equipment purchased from top international suppliers
• Only top quality provides cost-effectiveness in the long run, especially in extreme situations
• Training local experts, sending them abroad and attracting them back
• Forming mixed teams, introducing international expertise and know-how
• Accepting different cultures
• Accepting mistakes a way of making progress
• Accepting responsibilities and experience from partners
• Agreeing on appropriate remuneration schemes specific to each individual case
• Understanding that a contractor who makes no profit can be very expensive
• Applying practical experience and being tolerant when managing interfaces
• Hydropower plants have a long operation period, investing in quality is essential
• Investigating lifecycle behaviour pays off
• Building and protecting the environment is usually compatible with the project
In October 2015, Aragvi HPP received an Alliance Award from the International Construction Project Management Association (ICPMA). The team is currently planning to implement a second 2 MW Aragvi 2 small hydropower plant (SHPP) in Georgia.