The Tashir group of companies, which has pledged to invest $872 million in Armenian electricity grids in the next ten years, is going to make large-scale investments also in the electricity generation sector, a representative said.
Besides a hydro-power plant in Shnogh, which is in the northeast of Armenia, the company considers the possibility of building an HPP also in Meghri, which is in the extreme south of the country.
At a press conference on Wednesday Tashir’s Vice President Karen Darbinian did not give further details regarding the possible hydro-power plant construction in Meghri. “This is at the stage of discussions. It is very likely that in the future Tashir will make investments also in the field of electricity production,” he said.
On November 13, Tashir announced that on the river Debed it will build a 120 MW hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of up to 460 million kilowatts per year, which will provide about 6 percent of Armenia’s total demand in electricity.
Tashir Group, which is owned by Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetian, owns the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) and the Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant, which it acquired from the Russian Inter RAO Company in October 2015. Besides, Tashir, in fact, also owns Armenia’s largest solar power plant, Arexim, with a capacity of 0.5 MW, which was inaugurated in the Armenian town of Tsaghkadzor in September.
In August, by the government’s decision, the High-Voltage Electric Networks state company was handed over to the management of Tashir for a period of five years with the possibility of prolongation. Due to this company it is possible to export large volumes of electricity from Armenia or to import electricity to the country.
In this regard, Darbinian said: “No specific strategy has been outlined yet, but, of course, we will also be engaged in export. The export of electricity is a very important factor for Armenia in terms of energy security.”
As for the investment of about $900 million in the ENA, the company says it will be made during a period of 10 years, by 2028. Tashir says it will attract half of the sum from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Eurasian Development Bank. The other half will be provided from Tashir’s own means.
According to Darbinian, 80 percent of the equipment needed for the modernization of the ENA will be produced in Armenia, and Tashir will invest about $100 million to establish relevant enterprises. He said that two years ago when Tashir took over the ENA, losses in the power grid made 13.3 percent. Now, he said, they have been reduced to 8.7 percent.
According to ENA Director General Karen Harutiunian, about a thousand jobs will be cut as a result of the modernization of the network that currently employs about 7,300 workers. Over the past two years 900 workers were also discharged from the ENA, but the company kept paying 100 percent of their salaries for the first year and 50 percent of their salaries for the second.