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 Friday, January 31 2014

Hrant Bagratyan: Vorotan Cascade of HPPs was sold too cheap

Hrant Bagratyan: Vorotan Cascade of HPPs was sold too cheap

 Hrant Bagratyan, an Armenian parliamentarian, a member of the Armenian National Congress opposition faction, former prime minister of Armenia, claims that the Government sold the Vorotan Cascade of hydropower plants at a price four times lower than its real cost. 


Bagratyan says in a Facebook post that the Government of Armenia sold Vorotan Cascade (over 500 MW) for $180 million. "I have got an impression that it was done to cushion "anger" of Americans. Actually, the Government has deprived Armenia of its own energy system. The Cascade of HPPs was sold too cheap, at least, four times cheaper.  Contour Global will invest $70 million within the coming 6 years. I think we would invest much more within 6 years out of the company's profits. Undoubtedly, the Cascade will be sold at much higher price in a couple of years. Our government has a unique talent to curry favor with powerful states (earlier, it provided more than favorable conditions to Russia)," Bagratyan writes.  Earlier, ArmInfo reported that on January 29, ContourGlobal and the Government of Armenia announced that they have signed an agreement for ContourGlobal to purchase and modernize the Vorotan Hydro Cascade, a series of three hydroelectric power plants totaling 405 MW on the Vorotan River in southern Armenia, for a purchase price of $180 million USD. ContourGlobal pledges 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 Contour Global Hydro Cascade. 


Vorotan Cascade of HPPs consists of three hydro-power plants with a total capacity of 404MW. The Cascade operates year-round thanks to its two reservoirs and helps regulating the frequencies of power exchange from Iran to Armenia and the vice versa. The designed capacity of the Cascade is 1.16 bln kWh electricity annually.   Vorotan Cascade of HPPs CJSC was 100% state company under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia before the latest deal.  The Vorotan Hydro Cascade is one of the largest and most flexible power generating facilities in Armenia and the Caucasus. It needs modernization and this acquisition represents the largest single U.S. private investment in Armenia's history and the first U.S. investment in Armenia's energy sector.

ContourGlobal is a New York based international power-generation company with approximately 3,500 MW in operations or under construction in 17 countries and on four continents. ContourGlobal's 1,650 employees manage, own and operate a portfolio of 33 power plants utilizing a wide range of fuel types and technologies including renewable energy production based upon Hydro, wind, solar and biomass, as well as an extensive fleet of conventionally powered thermal power plants. In the wider Eastern Europe area, ContourGlobal currently owns and operates approximately 1100 MW of power generation businesses in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, and Poland. 

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