Georgia?s hydropower ambitions

Georgia is strongly capitalizing on hydropower for its energy and economic development. The programme enacted by the Georgian government aims at using its strategic position between Caucasia and Turkey, which allows it to reach Middle Eastern and East European markets to turn the country into a major regional electricity exporter,.

With 5 million inhabitants, today Georgia already is a net electricity exporter, thanks to the Inguri dam, which in 2007, with its 1,300 MW of capacity, changed the chronically deficitary scenario, with frequent power cuts, to overproduction (Inguri meets alone about 50% of Georgia’s electricity needs).

The new target aims at doubling the current hydro capacity (approximately 1,800 MW out of the total 4,400 MW), exporting the excessive production, thus creating about 10,000 new jobs and also doubling the gross internal product over a decade.

According to official information, the country currently uses only 18% of its hydroelectric potential. Under the new plan, over the next 5 years more than 20 hydropower plants will be built, for a total capacity of 1,800 MW.

Construction of five of these plants has already started, and it was announced that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will grant a 20 million euro loan, to be used, among other things, to increase by 15% the power output of the Inguri plant.