ArmInfo.In Armenia, there is no problem associated with small hydropower plants, there is a problem with efficient use of water resources. Roman Melikyan, executive director of the Renewable Energy Producers Association, is of the same opinion.
According to him, Armenian officials have repeatedly stated that the country's water resources amount to 7 billion cubic meters of water, while the country needs 3 billion cubic meters of water. "Consequently, the problems should be sought not in small hydropower stations, but in the effective use of water resources," the executive director said in a conversation with the correspondent of the Kommersant. ArmInfo.
According to him, currently there are 184 MHPPs operating in Armenia with a total installed capacity of 356 MW. Small hydropower accounts for 20% of all electricity generated in the country. In the process of construction there are 35 more small HPPs with a total installed capacity of 65 MW. "When stopping the Armenian nuclear power plant for scheduled preventive repairs, electricity from the SHPP is most in demand, and it's hard to imagine what would happen if these generation facilities start to close," the expert said, adding at the same time that the two hydropower plants were already closed.
According to him, it is necessary to go not by closing the small hydropower stations, but in providing time for their modernization, solving the problem with high bank interest rates, creating conditions for attracting investments. "In Georgia, for example, another 50 SHPPs will be built in the coming years, and we have a tendency to reduce the amount of water that is being released, which automatically leads to a decrease in electricity generation, and, as a result, to a decrease in the companies' profits," the expert said, adding that small hydropower solves social problems. In addition to the relatively low tariff, it provides jobs for 4,500 people.
To recall, on August 23, the Armenian government approved amendments to the Water Code providing for toughening the construction of small hydropower stations. The draft law provides for certain criteria for the construction of the SHPP, as well as bans for the installation of small HPPs. The amendments prohibit the construction of MHPP on rivers where rare fish species listed in the Red Book spawn. Also, the prohibition on construction will be subject to hydroelectric power stations, the load of which on rivers exceeds 40%. Meanwhile, at present there are rivers on which this load exceeds 50% of the volume of water flow passing through the pipes. Construction will be limited to individual sections of rivers that run along forest tracts, near nature monuments. According to the Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia Artur Grigoryan, now the permissible amount of SHPP is considerably exceeded in Armenia. Nevertheless, the law is aimed not at banning the construction of new small hydropower facilities, but on monitoring the initial purpose of the HPP - the production of an environmentally acceptable electric power.
As earlier in the conversation with the correspondent of ArmInfo the famous in the country specialist on water resources, Ph.D. Knarik Hovhannisyan, despite the fact that hydroelectric power plants are the most environmentally safe in the list of other alternative sources of electricity, in recent years, due to the extremely extensive construction of small hydropower stations in Armenia on the waterways of the republic, the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems has deteriorated sharply. This is due to the violation of the regime of environmental releases, which hinder the conservation of biodiversity (flora and fauna) of aquatic ecosystems. Among other factors of the disturbance of normal activity of natural ecosystems, the expert considers frequent excess of the established water withdrawal limits, violation of the norms of construction and operation of hydraulic structures.
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