Government Reinforcing Georgia’s Power Grid
23 January, 2014
Government Reinforcing Georgia’s Power Grid
The current Georgian Government is visibly upbeat about the construction of the Gardabani CCTPP - the Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant. Irakli Gharibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, who participated in the ground breaking ceremony for a 230 MW CCTPP in Gardabani in the Kvemo Kartli Region, hailed a project which is “unique” and “marks the new era in the country’s energy development.”
The 230-MW plant will be operated on natural gas, located 40 km away from Tbilisi, and will stretch
over three hectares. The plant is being constructed by PF, the Partnership Fund, a state-owned shareholding company, jointly with its daughter company, the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC).
“For any country and especially for Georgia, energy independence and energy security is very vital, and is directly connected with the security of the whole country. Therefore, implementation of this project is very important,” Gharibashvili said in his welcoming speech at the ceremony on 17 January.
The Gardabani CCTPP will be put into operation by the end of 2015, and will generate 1.8 billion KW annually. It will be equipped with cutting edge technology, including General Electric and Skoda turbines, allowing the plant to supply Georgia’s energy grid in case of a shortage. “What’s important, in case of a problem with electricity supply, is that the plant will have a reserve capacity to supply the energy grid of Georgia for 25-30 minutes, guarantying sustainability of the whole system,” Irakli Kovzanadze, Executive Director of the PF, said. According to him, in terms of creating a new source of energy generation in the country, this project is a step forward.
Currently, hydro power generation holds as high as an 80 % share of Georgia’s electricity production. For most of the time, the country is self-sufficient in electricity. However, in winter time, as water flow lowers in the 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 are 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 by far more effective,” Natia Turnava, Deputy CEO of the PF, said in her recent interview with Georgian Journal. Significantly, according to her, the Gardabani CCTPP is twice as efficient as other power plants operating on natural gas in Georgia, while its operating cost is cheaper.
JSC Partnership Fund was set up by the Government of Georgia in August of 2011 with the goal to support a private sector in investing in selected, commercially viable projects. The PF’s current asset base exceeds 5 billion Lari, holding stakes in major state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including Georgian Railways (100% stake), Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (100% stake), Georgian State Electrosystem (100% stake), Electricity System Commercial Operator (100% stake) and Telasi (25% stake).
Given the strategic importance of the electricity sector within the context of Georgia’s ongoing transformation into a regional logistical, economic and trade hub, apart from the Gardabani CCTPP, Partnership Fund also works to implement several large scale projects in energy in cooperation with foreign or local investors.
“We are also working on Nenskra Hydro Power Plant with a 210 MW capacity, which will be constructed in Svaneti, one of Georgia’s highland regions,” Kovzanadze noted.
The total cost of the Gardabani project exceeds USD 200 million. It is financed jointly by the Partnership Fund and Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC). Calik Enerji, a daughter company of Calik Holding. The Turkish giant energy holding is carrying out the construction works.
Ahmet Calik, Head of Calik Holding, who also attended the ceremony, congratulated the country on launching this giant project and said that for him to be involved in the project is very important. “The Gardabani Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant will strengthen the country’s economic development and will also bolster its energy independence,” Ahmet Calik said.
At the end of the ceremony, Irakli Gharibashvili, Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze, Ahmet Calik and Irakli Kovzanadze signed an address-message to the next generation which was placed in a special capsule and put in the plant’s foundation.
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