The Yerevan Combined-Cycle Thermal Power Plant is located 10km south from Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. It was inaugurated on 22 April 2010. The plant was constructed in the existing facility of an obsolete plant.
The new gas-powered turbine plant aims to reduce electricity prices and consumption of natural gas. Armenia does not have any natural reserves and hence imports more than 80% of its natural gas from Russia and yet generates surplus energy. This has resulted in unstable electricity prices in Armenia. The plant was reconstructed with an aim to reduce the cost of 1KW/hr electricity from the current 400 drams to 160-170 drams.
The upgraded thermal power plant has an installed capacity of 242MW and produces a quarter of the country’s electricity production.
Power from the plant will be supplied to Armenian consumers through Yerevan CHP electricity and surplus power from the plant will be exported mainly to Iran in exchange for natural gas.
The project, estimated to cost $247m, was financed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) in 2007. The loan was released at an interest rate of 0.75% over a 40-year tenure with a ten-year grace period.
Construction of the second and third power plants on the same site is being considered by the Government of Armenia.
The Yerevan Thermal Power Plant project was awarded in September 2007 to a consortium of Korean company GS E&C (95%) and Mitsui (5%) for $218m .The project was built as scheduled in 28 months from December 2007 to March 2010.
With this contract, GS E&C became the first Korean company to construct a power plant in CIS market.
Initially, the project had two separate contract orders for the installation of gas turbine and construction process. But it was awarded as a single turnkey contract.
Yerevan Combined-Cycle Power Plant
The Yerevan Thermal Power Plant was originally built in 1963-1964 with an installed capacity of 550MW. It had exhausted its operating potential and only one of the seven units was working before the re-construction. Each unit had an installed capacity of 50MW.
The power plant was removed from the list of state-owed enterprises due to the privatisation programme, but was re-considered as a state-owned plant in 2003.
The re-construction plan was designed by the power plant’s experts and the Japanese company TEPSCO.
The re-constructed Yerevan Thermal Power Plant is 10% more efficient than the usual thermal plants. It combines gas and steam turbines to produce electricity. The plant has a power generation capacity of 205MW and heat generation capacity of 105Gcal/hr.
Power market in Armenia
Natural gas represents 50% of total energy consumption of the country.
In 2009, Armenia imported around 1-1.5 million cubic metres of natural gas from Iran in exchange of electricity. This is expected to increase to 150 million cubic metres in 2010 despite the abundance of re-renewable energy resources.
Until recently, the power sector was neglected in Armenia. Around 40% of equipment used in power plants had been in use for over 30 years. Hydroelectric power plant equipment was in use for 35 to 50 years.
Medsamor Nuclear Power Plant, which contributes 40% of the country’s electricity will also be exhausted by 2016. Plans are on to build new nuclear power plant in order to replace the Medsamor plant.
As of 2009, Armenia has 1,765MW of installed capacity from the thermal power plants that run on natural gas and is planning for the construction of 1,000MW of nuclear power plant to be commissioned in 2012.
Wind power is also not used to its full potential. As of 2008, Armenia had one wind power farm at Lori Marz. It is planning to construct the country’s largest wind farm in collaboration with Iran.
Armenia is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which attracts investments in energy projects of common interest to the INOGATE countries. The energy programme also aims to enhance energy security, converge member state energy markets and support sustainable energy development.