ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
May
20

Does Your Smartphone Make You an “Unconscious” Villain?

Our dependence on smartphones can hardly be described as anything other than addictive. We invariably use them to document trips and thus to have the world at our fingertips. Though, these precious little gadgets have a dark history that we, as consumers, unconsciously support. Unfortunately, we will not be able to discuss in detail all the negative impacts within the supply chain of smartphones. Nonetheless, we wish this article to serve as an awakening, and a reminder, of what we as consumers are promoting. Moreover, what we - and governments - could d...
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May
03

What Can Be Learned from the Experiences of the Khadori 3 HPP Project?

News of the conflicts between the local population and the construction company involved in the construction of a small HPP in the Pankisi valley (Khadori 3) has recently made it into the headlines. Khadori is a small HPP with an installed capacity of 5.4 MW and an estimated annual generation of 27.5 mln. kWh. Construction of the Khadori 3 HPP started on 21 April, however, the local population resisted the project, and consequently its company involved law enforcement officials to ensure its secure implementation. This further increased tensions between ...
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Apr
19

Is Georgia on the Right Path to Reduce Massive Plastic Bag Usage?

  In October 2018, a new law came into force which prohibits producing, importing, and selling single-use bags thinner than 15 microns.1 The second wave of this reform was introduced in April 2019, and expanded to all forms of plastic bags. It is important to ask, why was it necessary to impose a restriction on plastic bags? What are the implications and the expected consequences of the ban? Plastic shopping bags are produced at a rate of one trillion a year and distributed at store checkout counters across the globe. More than two thirds created ar...
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Mar
29

Net-Metering: A Realistic Green Solution to the Generation-Consumption Deficit?

In February 2019, Georgian power plants generated 939 million kWh of electricity, which compared to the previous year represents a 0.5% increase in total generation. On the demand side, consumption amounted to 1,037 mln. kWh, a 2% decrease on an annual basis. Although the negative gap between generation and consumption decreased by 22% (from -126 to -98 mln. kWh), compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, it remained substantial. It is worth highlighting, once again, that this negative gap does not wholly reveal the extent of dependence o...
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Mar
04

Enguri and Vardnili Hydropower Plants (HPPs) and Abkhazian Demand. A Difficult (and Costly) Puzzle for Georgia

Winter has always been a problem for the Georgian electricity system. Even though Georgia has plenty of hydropower, during this season several HPPs — seasonal and small — either stop or substantially reduce electricity generation. In this season, a significant share of hydropower generation comes from two large-scale state-owned pumped-storage HPPs: Enguri and Vardnili. However, exactly when the generation-consumption gap is the largest, most of the electricity produced is used to satisfy the consumption of the Abkhazia region, which on a yearly basis co...
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