The Shuakhevi HPP has a new COO – Naresh Telgu. He has 18 years of international experience in various fields of the power sector including the construction and development of power projects, the operation and maintenance of power plants, the transmission and distribution of power, and business development. He obtained his Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering and his Masters in Business Administration (Finance).
The construction of the Shuakhevi HPP is entering its final phase. What is the current stage of construction and what is the progress of the project?
– The 187 MW Shuakhevi hydro project is one of the fastest developed hydro projects in the world with tunnels this long (37km) developed within five years. Our team at the project site consists of ourselves and the experienced contractors and consultants who have collaborated with us. We strive to build the project to international standards of quality.
Currently, the project is around 65% complete. But let me mention here that the majority of underground geological risks associated with underground works have been reduced since we have already completed 29.3 km of tunnels out of total 37 km.
How many people were employed in the project implementation?
– During the construction phase there were around 1200 personnel employed. I would like to thank the people who have worked so hard to bring the project to this stage. Our employees from Georgia, Turkey and a various other countries developed their skills and learned new ones. They also had to adapt to standards and procedures that ensure safe working conditions for all.
In addition to constructing the Shuakhevi HPP, your company implements various social projects. What important projects are you currently funding in Adjara?
–Corporate social responsibility is one of key focus areas of the company. AGL’s three main community support priorities are awareness-raising and education, community development and infrastructure development.
AGL has been active in improving the living standards and general infrastructure of local communities through its CSR initiatives. Part of these activities includes “restoration” obligations such as road and bridge rehabilitation, water system development and vocational training related to these activities. AGL undertakes these projects in cooperation with local municipal governments.
Our main Initiatives (2014 – 2015) included the following:
Awareness Raising & Education: financial management seminars, road and traffic safety trainings, sustainable firewood use awareness training, healthcare awareness seminars, AGL scholarships for local students from affected communities, agricultural seminars and pedagogical skills training for local English teachers, and English language enrichment activities for local students such as after-school programs and contests. Community Development: small business development and agricultural development (beekeeping programs, nuts cultivation).
Regional Development: rehabilitation and gravelling of village roads, rehabilitation of potable water supplies and drainage systems, rehabilitation of school libraries and supplying schools with equipment, refurbishment of school yards and sport halls and construction of gabions.
Mr. Naresh, before arriving in Georgia you took part in implementing a variety of important projects in many countries. What social responsibility practices are implemented in other countries? Are social projects done with projects in every country?
– I have been associated with the development and implementation of power projects including thermal, hydro, wind and geothermal projects. These projects were implemented or are being implemented in many different locations around the world including India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Zambia, Bhutan and Nepal. The sponsors of this company have a strong focus on social projects and have created an atmosphere that promotes being a good neighbour. We are working with local communities to create a better life for everyone.
The Shuakhevi HPP will be completed in one year and hydro power plant will start operating. We have learned that the process of staff selection has already started. What challenges are you facing with this process?
– The Shuakhevi power plant will be commissioned in December 2016. Planning for operations phase is already in progress. We need to create a world class organization for this phase. The resource identification process for mainly technical positions has already started and we would be developing our human resources to standards that match the best in the world. I think we need to create a balance between experience and youth to create a team that is technically competent, with excellent practical knowledge, to operate the Shuakhevi power house at an optimum efficiency level.
– In your opinion, what is the main thing the country will gain after completion of Shuakhevi HPP?
– The 187 MW Shuakhevi Project is the first project in Georgia with debt financed by three large multilateral agencies: the IFC, ADB and EBRD, with a project budget of around 416 million USD.
It is a benchmark project for Georgia, to show case to the world how a large-scale project can be implemented in this country in record time and with world class quality.
It will be the largest hydro project to be commissioned in 2016 or 2017. Georgia will also benefit from the domestic sale of electricity to in the winter when the country faces a power deficit. We are thankful for the support of the Government of Georgia and Adjara as well as the municipal governments of Shuakhevi and Khulo during this critical construction phase.