PF Boosting National Energy Security
16 January, 2014
PF Boosting National Energy Security
With the goal to help generate additional electricity and strengthen the country’s energy security, the Partnership Fund (PF), a state-owned shareholding company, will carry out the Gardabani Project to construct a combined cycle thermal power plant in Gardabani, the Kvemo Kartli region.
The Gardabani plant will supply the local market with additional 230 mw electricity, and moreover, if there is any problem with electricity supply in the country, the plant will have a reserve capacity to supply Georgia’s power grid
for 25-30 minutes, guarantying the sustainability of the whole system.
“The country will have the electricity, generated by the plant as a reserve, which will be the most viable reserve for the country,” explained Natia Turnava, Deputy Executive Director of the PF. “This will bolster Georgia’s energy independence.”
The total cost of the investment project exceeds $ 200 m and will be financed jointly by the PF and its daughter company, Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC). Calik Enerji, a giant Turkish energy company, will construct the plant, which will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, including General Electric turbines. The plant will be completed by the end of 2015 and will be fully operated by Georgia. 
“What’s very important is that thanks to the technological equipment, the Gardabani combined cycle thermal power plant’s capacity is higher by one-third than other power plants operating on natural gas in the country, while its operation is cheaper by 50%,” Turnava told Georgian Journal. “Additionally, the Gardabani combined cycle thermal power plant is ecologically the most neutral project, as it will pollute the environment less than other similar plants,” she added.
According to Turnava, implementation of such a large-scale project in the field is the first of its kind for Georgia. She explained that this project is a step forward in creating alternative sources of energy generation.
Currently, hydro power generation holds as high as an 80 % share of Georgia’s electricity production. Most of the time, the country is self-sufficient in electricity. However, in winter, as the water flow lowers in rivers, the country faces electricity shortage and has to import electricity. This seasonal character of hydro power generation increases the importance of thermal power plants, which are operated on gas, not water.
“Currently Georgia already has some thermal power plants but they represent open cycle plants which are not efficient. So after studying the market, we decided to construct a combined cycle thermal power plant, which uses less gas, while it is far more effective,” Turnava noted.
In recent years Georgia’s energy sector has undergone a thorough overhaul. From an electricity importer Georgia transformed itself into an electricity exporter, and plans to expand opportunities in this regard. In particular, the Government is planning to increase electricity generation, and works to attract foreign businesspeople to invest money in energy.
So, given the strategic importance of the electricity sector within the context of Georgia’s ongoing transformation into a regional, logistical, economic and trade hub, the Partnership Fund is working to implement several large scale projects in energy in cooperation with foreign or local investors.
“In the region, it was only Georgia which did not have a combined cycle thermal power plant. For instance, in neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia, there are several such plants,” Turnava said, adding that the existing “old Soviet-style open cycle thermal power plants need to be re-equipped and transformed into combined cycle thermal power plants.”
The novel scheme of Georgia’s current government for handling one of the most significant sectors of our economy seems to be clearly pragmatic, if not altogether revolutionary. It’s not exactly rocket science to know that it is not only Georgia which must make an all-out search for new energy sources, but the entire world as well. Lack of energy – lack of good life, to put it plainly! And the plan suggested by the Partnership Fund seems brilliant. That the PF succeeds might very well be one of Georgia’s most important New Year’s resolutions.

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