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US launches 5-year program to ensure Georgia’s energy independence and security

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, July 30
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new five-year “Georgia’s Energy Future Program” aimed at strengthening Georgia's energy security on July 29. The official opening ceremony of the program, which is based on the Gori wind power plant, was attended by the US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan, and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Natia Turnava, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee of Sector Economy, David Songulashvili and other officials.

The project will be implemented by Deloitte Consulting Ltd. with the funding of USAID. According to the Ministry of Economy of Georgia, the project budget is $15.7 million. Its main goal is to improve Georgia's energy security through the implementation of reforms and sustainable development of the energy sector, which will help the country to fulfill its obligations under the Association Agreement with the European Union. The purpose of the program is to ensure achieving stable and reliable electricity generation, to increase resilience to external adverse impacts, including resistance against cyberattacks, and to assist the reforms that will accelerate Georgia’s euro-atlantic integration.

“The US government has traditionally helped us with energy reform and the development of Georgian energy...The main task of our reforms, our energy policy, is to make Georgia's energy sector fully independent, strong, self-reliant, and less dependent on imports, with the help of our American friends,” Turnava said.

According to the Minister, it is necessary for Georgia to develop its own renewable energy sources - these are hydropower plants, wind, and solar stations, and other new renewable energy technologies that are entering the country. She clarified that Georgia needs to have trade with neighboring countries and was informed of the plan to lay a power cable on the Black Sea floor to connect to the European energy market, but the country needs to have its own resources and be strong in this regard in the first place.

Turnava stated that the energy security that Georgia is working on with American partners includes various components, such as the development of new stations based on local energy sources, cybersecurity, and the proper quality of electricity, supplies without interruptions.

Through the implementation of the program, Georgia will be able to attract private investments that will be beneficial for upgrading the energy infrastructure and creating new power generation in the future, which will be specially designed for climate-adapted resources.

Regarding the Energy matters, Turnava also met with a delegation from the Japanese Toyota Tsusho Corporation. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Ministers and Ambassador of Japan to Georgia.

At the meeting, the Minister briefed the Japanese guests on the current economic trends in Georgia and the investment and business environment. According to her, there are a number of agreements between Georgia and Japan aimed at further development of bilateral economic ties. At the meeting, the representatives of Toyota Tsusho expressed special interest in the energy of Georgia, including the so-called Production of green hydrogen. According to the statement, Georgia’s potential in this regard was emphasized.

As informed by the ministry, the corporation, which is part of the Toyota Group, operates in 120 countries and has more than 66,000 employees. Toyota Group is already represented in the Georgian market, but there's a bigger possibility for the company to be represented in our market as an investor. According to the minister, works are underway for the development of this innovative direction and she thinks that it’s possible to implement a pilot program as well.

According to the Ambassador of Japan to Georgia Imamura Akira, Toyota Tsusho is one of the largest trading companies in Japan and operates in areas such as trade, investment, factory construction, energy development, finance, logistics, and more. The company is interested in investing in Georgia, as the country has the potential to be a partner in future business relations, especially in the field of renewable energy. The Japanese diplomat focused on the recently signed agreement on mutual protection of investments between the two countries.