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USAID, Georgian Ministry of Energy encourage hydropower development

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, January 25
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia (MENR) signed a program implementation letter declaring their support for the implementation of the Georgian Electricity Market Model 2015 (GEMM 2015) at the Tbilisi Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on January 24th.

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia Kakha Kaladze thanked the US people and USAID for their great generosity towards Georgia for over 20 years including the energy sector development.

“Reforms should continue and today’s signing is an important step.” Kaladze said, explaining that a new market model will be prepared within this program aimed at making the private investors more interested and active in hydropower sector; Implementation of GEMM 2015 will enhance private sector led hydropower development in Georgia, by providing transmission paths, trading tools and risk mitigation options that hydropower plants require to sell their electricity into the Turkish and regional competitive electricity markets.

“We should simplify the procedures to make the energy market more interesting for local and foreign investors with the help of USAID.” Kaladze told The Messenger.

The Energy Minister said a special group consisting of representatives of local and foreign experts including Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GENRC), GSE and ESCO would work on implementation of the program.

USAID is fully supportive of the Ministry of Energy’s decision to adopt GEMM 2015 as a core strategy for the energy sector. USAID will continue to provide technical assistance to the Ministry and other energy sector institutions to help them achieve GEMM 2015and execute the six-monthly Action Plans that will guide its implementation. Under the current assistance agreement USAID provides technical, economic and environmental studies, investment promotion and marketing, and capacity building to enable Georgia to develop the hydro electrical sector.

USAID Mission Director Stephen Haykin said the US government has been providing support for the rehabilitation of the energy sector in Georgia for quite some time. “The hydro electrical power development project initially started with a series of studies to help identify potential investors for one of the hydro electric facilities. In the course of doing this we were trying to attract investors to Georgia. We got feedback we shared with the government; we are in need for further development through policy structures and institutions.” Haykin said after the signing ceremony.

According to Energy Minister Kaladze the new market model will be formed by the end of 2014 while its implementation will start from 2015.