Enguri Dam

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The Enguri Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Enguri River in Tsalenjikha, Georgia. Currently, it is the world's second-highest concrete arch dam with a height of 271.5 meters (891 ft).

It is located north of the town of Jvari. It is part of the Enguri Hydroelectric Power Station (HES) which is partially located in Abkhazia. In the past, I had heard about this damn but didn't expect I will actually visit it during our few-day trip to Svaneti at the end of September 2023. 

Enguri dam in Georgia

Construction of the Enguri dam began in 1961. The dam became temporarily operational in 1978, and was completed in 1987. In 1994, the dam was inspected by engineers of Hydro-Québec, who found that the dam was "in a rare state of dilapidation". In 1999, the European Commission granted €9.4 million to Georgia for urgent repairs at the Enguri HES, including replacing the stoplog at the arch dam on the Georgian side and, refurbishing one of the five generators of the power station at the Abkhaz side.

In total, €116 million loans were granted by the EBRD, the European Union, the Japanese Government, KfW and Government of Georgia. In 2011 the European Investment Bank (EIB) loaned €20 million in order to complete the rehabilitation of the Enguri hydropower plant and to ensure safe water evacuation towards the Black Sea at the Vardnili hydropower cascade.

While the arch dam is located on the Georgian controlled territory in Upper Svanetia, the power station is located in the Gali District of breakaway Abkhazia. Enguri HES has 20 turbines with a nominal capacity of 66 MW each, resulting in a total capacity of 1,320 MW. Its average annual capacity is 3.8 TWh, which is approximately 46% of the total electricity supply in Georgia as of 2007.  According to the 1992 agreement Abkhazia gets 40% and the rest of Georgia gets 60%, however in the late 2010s the Abkhazian consumption increased significantly driven in part by bitcoin mining.

The facility's arched dam, located at the town of Jvari, was inscribed in the list of cultural heritage of Georgia in 2015.

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