ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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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Feb
25

Water Losses and Operational Efficiency in the Water Sector: Observations and Proposed Policy Interventions

The large and chronic water losses characterizing distribution networks constitute one of the major challenges faced by Georgian water utilities. The water supply generates approximately 700 million cubic meters of non-revenue water (NRW) each year1, considering just the urban centers. High water loss rates create excessive operational costs for the utilities and result in undesirable operational inefficiency in the water supply sector. This creates obstacles — from a financial point of view — to the achievement of full cost recovery and to the appropria...
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Feb
18

Who Is the Surgeon?

Riddles are fun; sometimes, though, they teach us more than expected. Consider this riddle, for example. A son and his father get into a terrible accident; the father dies immediately while the son is rushed to the hospital for an urgent operation. A minute after being called in, a prominent surgeon steps out from the operating room and says “I cannot operate on this boy; he is my son”. Who is the surgeon? Take a guess! Hopefully, many of you guessed the quite obvious answer: the surgeon is the boy’s mother. The riddle has gained popularity due to the si...
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Feb
13

William Nordhaus’ Models – a Dubious Equation for the Climate Debate

In preparation for the COP24 climate change conference in Poland, in December 2018, researchers published a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining how significant the consequences of climate change would be following a global increase in temperature of just a half degree, from 1.5 to 2 degrees C. In the wake of the newly released IPCC report, alongside William Nordhaus’ Nobel Memorial award, this year’s winner in economics, a heated debate has surfaced. This has come about not only with the instigators in Sweden publis...
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Feb
04

We Don't Need No Regulation: On Georgia’s Dairy and Livestock Sector

  Dairy production in Georgia is a hot topic right now. Over the last couple of years, new state regulations have been adopted in this sector. The most widely discussed recent change in regulations prohibits the use of milk powder in cheese production. This regulation was adopted in 2015, but was amended in June of 2017 in order to better serve consumer interests. While defining terms such as “cheese”, “butter”, and “matsoni” is definitely a step forward, the execution of this technical regulation is associated with many challenges, and Georgian con...
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Feb
01

Do We Need to Worry About the Generation Deficit in the Electricity Market? And What Can Be Done About It?

Looking at annual consumption and generation trends, from 2012-2016, it is clear that generation typically exceeded consumption. Consequently, the generation-consumption gap remained positive. However, in 2017 this trend reverted, and the electricity generated by local resources on the Georgian market was no longer enough to supply the local demand. As shown in Figure 1, the gap widened even further in 2018; with the negative gap increasing by 30% (from 344 mln. kWh in 2017 to 447 mln. kWh in 2018). This significant reversal has motivated us to explore ...
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