Georgia expects to attract about $8 billion of investment in its energy sector over the next seven years, with major hydropower and gas plants to be constructed, the deputy energy minister said.
New plants will help Georgia, which is already almost self-sufficient in energy, to meet its power needs in winter and allow it to export electricity through a transmission line financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
“We are planning to develop about 4,000 megawatts of capacity in new power generation plants,” Ilia Beroshvili told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Silk Road international economic forum in the capital Tbilisi.
“These … will give us about $8 billion of new investment in this sector.”
The $6 billion Tbilisi-based private equity Georgian Co-Investment Fund (GCF) said on Thursday it had pledged $673 million for the construction of a hydropower plant with a capacity of 347 megawatts.
Beroshvili said four other major plants were due to be constructed in the ex-Soviet republic of 3.7 million people.
“These major hydropower plants will have a total capacity of 1,500 megawatts. We expect to attract $3-$3.5 billion of investments in these projects,” Beroshvili said.
He said the Italian company Salini Impregilo had already started construction on one plant, Nenskra, which has a projected capacity of 280 megawatts and is a joint project between Korea Water Resources and the Georgian government. Construction of others is expected to begin in 2016.
Beroshvili said about $500 million had been invested as foreign direct investment (FDI) in Georgia’s energy sector since the end of 2012. FDI this year is expected to be $200-$250 million.
Georgia produces more than 80 percent of its electricity through hydropower. It imports 7 percent of its needs during the winter from neighboring Russia and exports electricity back to Russia and Turkey during spring and summer.