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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
11

Electricity Generation in Georgia II: Blowing Wind into the System

In the first part of our article we pointed out that electricity generation by hydropower is subject to strong seasonal variations. We argued that the seasonality of hydropower reduces the profitability of new plants, as they deliver the highest output in the time of the year when electricity is relatively cheap anyway, while they produce rather little when electricity is expensive. There are other problems why the potential of additional hydro power plants to solve Georgia’s energy problem are limited. Chart 4 shows a simple projection for 2020: The pro...
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Oct
04

Electricity Generation in Georgia I: The Seasonality Problem

In our two-part article we discuss how combining wind and hydropower can help the Republic of Georgia to achieve energy independence and become a net energy exporter. OVERVIEW Due to the geomorphological characteristics of its territory and to its geographical location, the Republic of Georgia is rich in hydro resources. According to the Georgian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, so far Georgia has been exploiting only about 20% of its hydro resource potential. Since 2006 the Georgian government has been planning to utilize these resources to not...
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Sep
09

Tchiatura and the Resource Curse

Tchiatura is a small but resource rich and picturesque town, situated in the province of Imereti in Western Georgia. The abundance of an important natural resource, manganese ore, was the main reason for establishing the town in 1879. Akaki Tsereteli, the famous Georgian writer from the same region, initiated the manganese mining back then. To increase efficiency in transportation of the mineral, a railway was built in 1895. By this period, up to 6000 workers were employed in the Tchiatura mines and the extracted material made up about 50% of total world...
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Jun
14

Khudoni and Georgia’s Energy Policy Dilemma: Go Green or Go Greedy

Khudoni, Georgia’s largest hydropower investment project, is again making the headlines.  According to a recent statement by Georgia’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Kakha Kaladze, the project will be put on hold at least until March 1, 2014. To give readers a bit of context, Khudoni’s planned capacity is in excess of 700 MW; its annual generation potential stands at about 1,5 TW/h, dwarfing other hydropower projects currently under MoUs with international investors. If built, Khudoni would be the second largest HPP in Georgia after Enguri...
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Apr
27

Georgia Going with the Wind?

The obsession of hydropower may have obscured other green energy options for Georgia. For one thing, investment in hydro is not happening as fast as could have been expected a few years ago. But, much more importantly, the bulk of hydropower would be in any case generated in the summer, when Georgia does not need as much of it. The surplus electricity is supposed to be exported to Turkey. But why destroy pristine landscapes and interfere with fragile ecosystems for the sake of exporting electricity to Turkey? Has anybody ever tried to answer the question...
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