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Ukraine launches first unit of Dnister pumped-storage hydroelectric plant

The first unit of the Dnister Hydroelectric Power Plant - one of the largest pumped-storage hydro plants in the world - has been put into operation, the government reported.

Work on the Dnister HPP, which is being built in the Chernivtsi oblast on the Dnister River, will be ongoing as more units are brought into operation. Construction on the project began in 1983.

The overall cost of the project is 5.8 billion hryvnia (US$720 million).

According to designs, the hydro plant will have an electric output of 2,268 MW in generating mode and 2,947 MW in pumping mode. The station will have seven identical pumping units.

The first unit is planned to produce 240 million kWh of electricity in 2010. The second and third units will be operational in 2011 and 2012, respectively. With seven units, capacity will be close to 2.5 million KW, according to government reports.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said in a press release that hydroelectric power is an important energy source that can reduce the use of natural gas and coal while reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. She said also that the Dnister project has helped create many jobs.

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