Turkey’s General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) announced that the loan had been signed for the project to be built on the Tigris river, which will involve a 135m high by 1820m long dam being constructed and the scheme commissioned by about 2013. The power house will hold six Francis units, which it is planned would deliver about 3% of Turkey’s electricity.

Consortia involved in building, designing and supervising the Ilisu project include a range of local and international companies, such as Nurol and Cengiz; Ed Zublin; va-tech Hydro and alstom; Colenco. Maggia Engineering, Dolsar, and Rast; and Stucky and Temelsu.

Earlier this year the export credit agencies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland agreed to take on the warranties for the project with conditions related to environment, resettlement and archaeology.

Ilisu is one of 22 dams and 19 hydro plants planned to be built in the region as part of the Southern Anatolia Project. The project has been politically sensitive as it is sited 45km north of the border with Syria, and it has also been criticised for years by environmental groups. The project proponents have countered that the scheme would provide electricity while saving 3M tonnes/year in carbon dioxide emissions.

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