One-third of small hydropower plants in Armenia face the risk of being closed in the next five years, energy infrastructures and natural resources minister Ashot Manukyan told journalists last Friday.
“Some 99% of small hydropower plants operating in Armenia were built on relatively cheap loans provided by international lending institutions. Parts of older plants were used to build more than half of them,” Manukyan said.
According to the minister, the pipes of hydropower plants are in a terrible state; they are outdated, and their quality today leaves much to be desired, as a result the plants’ turbines use by 30% more water than needed.
“In fact, the problem is economic not environmental, and if we do not take appropriate measures, then in the next 5 years one third of small hydropower plants will have to be shut down only because their equipment, although used only 5-10 years, will become morally obsolete and unsuitable for operation,” Manukyan said.
Currently, there are 178 small hydropower plants operating in Armenia (by 5 more than a year ago). The total installed capacity of these small hydropower plants is about 328 MW. They produce a total of 957 million kWh electricity.
According to the ministry, the small hydroelectric power plants accounted for 13% of the total electricity produced in the country in 2016, which was 4% more than in the previous year.