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 Friday, December 19 2014

Marianna Mkrtchyan

John Heffern: Agreement on Vorotan Cascade of HPPs to be signed shortly

U.S. 
Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said in a press conference, Friday,
Armenia and U.S. will sign an agreement on the Vorotan Cascade of HPPs 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.  Ambassador Heffern said it is a big project
cost 250 million dollars, which is several times as big as the United States'
previous investments in Armenia. The diplomat is sure that the given agreement
will enable Armenia diversify its energy sector. He is sure that the agreement
will be of big importance for both the states.


 


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.


 


Meanwhile,
this deal has been criticized in the political circles in Armenia. It is widely
rumored that the deal is shady and the ex-minister of energy Armen Movsisyan
will have illegal incomes from it. In the political circles they explain
Movsisyan's resignation with that deal. There are even rumors that Movsisyan
may be brought responsible. The Armenian party has frozen the deal for several
months.