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G4G held media study tour on Hydropower

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, June 2
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Governing for Growth (G4G) in Georgia project with the Ministry of Energy of Georgia organized a media study tour on May 30 – 31.

Within the frame of a two day tour, on the first day, journalists had the opportunity to visit three Hydro Power Plants (HPP), Larsi HPP, Dariali HPP and Kazbegi HPP, and listen to a small presentation about each of them.

On the second day, G4G Chief of Party Milo Stevanovich, USAID Senior Energy Advisor Sukru Bogut, Deputy Ministry of Energy Ilia Eloshvili and USAID Energy and Water Deputy Component Leader Giorgi Chikiovani, spoke about importance of the development of hydropower.

Stevanovich said that by creating noted HPPs, Georgia builds not only power plants, but also is developing the market for investors.

“Georgia needs some successful examples of businesses in country, so investors have an idea where they are going to put their money. Those HPPs are good examples, however Georgia should keep up mastering the potential of the rivers in the future by building more HPPs,” stated Stevanovich.

Bogut said that he sees the solution of economic problems in the development of hydropower.

“[Georgia] is different from neighbor countries, as Georgia has neither oil nor gas. However, it has water which also is very valuable if used in the right way. Besides, Georgia meets all the requirements that investors may have in this field. That’s why the government needs to focus its efforts and use the country’s resources to the maximum effect,” stated Bogut.

Eloshvili said that even now Georgia is able to export hydropower.

“Exports depend on seasons, when we have water enough to produce the maximal quantity of electricity, we sell it, mainly to Turkey. However, during winter, we have to buy electricity from Russia. The more HPPs we will have, the less electricity will be needed to import during winter. That is why we are working hard to develop the sector,” stated Eloshvili.

Chikovani said that Georgia has the potential to sell hydropower not only to neighbor countries but to the Europe as well.

“If the government creates the system in the right way, Georgia has the potential to become the core of electricity in the region. Also, in the future, if we use our water resources to the maximum, Georgia will be able to cover Europe as well,” stated Chikovani.

In total, there are 26,060 rivers in Georgia. According to researches, the most part of them are useable for micro, small and big HPPs, while some of them may even feed the huge HPPs as well.

HPP field has antagonists as well, for example Green Alternative. According to the environmentalists, besides the benefits, the Georgian government must see the other side of medal as well. Green Alternative thinks that building HPPs can damage rural surroundings that can cause much incorrigible harm. They call on the government to study the field better and then make decisions.