Electricity supply to Abkhazia meets Georgia's interests - Tbilisi
TBILISI. May 13 (Interfax) - The largest Georgian Inguri hydropower electric plant is one of very thin ties connecting Georgia and Abkhazia, and this link should be saved, preserving the unity of the Georgian power grid, Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava said.
"We have preserved our territorial integrity in the energy sphere. Electricity supply to Abkhazia is Georgia's sovereign interest and it's unacceptable to employ this issue for political purposes," Turnava told reporters on Monday in reply to a relevant question.
The economic development minister described those theories, which were voiced to the opposition with regard to the reasons why electricity is being delivered to Abkhazia from the Inguri HPP, as false, absolutely unfounded and absurd.
"The Inguri-Vardnili hydro-power cascade is our national wealth, electricity has been delivered throughout Georgia, including Abkhazia, already for many years, and today this is so, as well. With this in view, I find the use of this issue and our sovereign interest in efforts to harm someone during political debates as immoral. This only brings grist to the enemy's mill, this is unacceptable," Turnava said.
The minister said that she had visited the Inguri HPP to discuss the plans relating to the overhaul and upgrades of this energy facility, which are very important for this country, with the HPP's top management on Monday.
"The first stage of reconstructing the Inguri HPP will be completed in 2016. We are planning and beginning an inquiry seeking to completely put the Inguri-Vardnili hydro-power cascade on its design capacity, up to 1,640 MW, as was decided back in the 1970s," Turnava said.
The Inguri HPP, whose capacity was set at 1,300 MW, was commissioned in 1978. Its control board and hydropower electric units are situated in Abkhazia, while the arch-shaped dam lake and water reservoir are located in the area being controlled by Georgia. In 1993, after the Georgian-Abkhaz war the opposing sides reached an agreement on distributing the electricity output from the Inguri HPP in a ratio of 60% (Georgia) and 40% (Abkhazia).