Aziz Saltik is the deputy CEO of Clean Energy Group Georgia LLC (CEGG), co-owned by the internationally recognized Turkish company ENKA and Norway’s Clean Energy Group.
His company is planning to own, finance, construct, commission and operate one of the largest energy projects in Georgia’s history, the Namakhvani Hydropower Plant (HPP) cascade. Ever since ENKA and Clean Energy Group came together to develop the Namakhvani HPP project, Mr. Aziz has been spending a lot of time in Georgia with his newly-formed team.
Prior to joining CEGG, Mr. Saltik worked as a power plant project manager for ENKA, the largest independent power producer in Turkey. He has years of experience in construction, development, permitting, land acquisition, environmental and social impact assessments, contract management, and the operation and maintenance of power plants.
– Mr. Saltik, you represent ENKA in Clean Energy Group Georgia. When did your company first become interested in Georgia?
We have been successfully operating in Turkey as well as in 45 countries of the world for more than 60 years. Name of ENKA is connected to 504 projects worldwide with historic value of 43.7 billion USD by having undertaken the challenging projects in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Europe, Central Asia, East and West Africa.
Since 1982, ENKA has continuously been named one of the Top 250 International Contractors by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine and ranked 72th in 2017. Also, ENKA is awarded by ENR to the “Global Project of the Year 2017” in the Best Global Project in Power/Industrial Category.
ENKA is also the largest private Independent Power Producer (IPP) with its 4000MW installed capacity in Turkey and meets over 12% of Turkish annual electricity demand with an annual generation capacity of 32,000 GWh since 2002.
In Georgia, ENKA is currently constructing the USD 500 million BP gas pipeline and would like to take its interest further long-term by investment in the Namakhvani HPP Project
– How stable do you believe the Georgian energy market is for foreign investment?
Georgia has proven itself to be a place to invest. Naturally, as potential investors we have studied the risks before making the investment. We believe that as a result of consistent support from the Georgian government we will be able to develop the Namakhvani HPP cascade successfully.
The Georgian energy sector in particular, though, faces some rather significant challenges. The country needs to ensure reliable energy and sustainable development in its energy sector and create a competitive environment. We have been following this process and believe that Georgia will achieve significant progress by improving legislation, reducing dependence on imports, utilizing energy resources effectively, and strengthening its transport chain.
– In your opinion, how possible is it for Georgia to achieve energy independence?
Georgia has vast hydropower potential. It has significant water resources, which are crucially important to develop in the process of pursuing energy independence. Namakhvani HPP will be increasing the country’s electrical generation by approximately 15%.
At the same time, the country is developing other sources of renewable energy. If all of these projects are carried out, it is a perfectly realistic result to expect that Georgia will gain energy independence.
– Will ENKA will be handing the construction aspect of the project, and when will this phase start?
Yes, ENKA will be constructing the Namakhvani HPP cascade. The project is well advanced with a basic design developed by the leading Italian engineering firm Studio Pietrangeli. The construction and environmental permits have been obtained. Construction is estimated to start in 2018 under an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with ENKA. The project will be implemented by a talented team of professionals, most of whom are Georgian.
– What economic benefits will the Namakhvani HPP project bring to the region during and after construction?
Building the Namakhvani HPP cascade will result in sustainable economic development for the Tskaltubo and Tsageri municipalities. We will contribute tens of millions of laris in tax payments to the budgets of these municipalities and create more than 3000 jobs, with priority given to hiring local residents. Meanwhile, our social responsibility program will support long-term sustainable development in the region.
Our company, Clean Energy Group Georgia follows IFC’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability and EBRD’s Performance Requirements where appropriate and seeks to be a leading player in the sphere of Corporate Social Responsibility.
– You said earlier that the majority of your project team are Georgians. How easy it is to find professional talent for such an energy project in Georgia?
We’ve met many Georgian professionals over the last l months, and I believe that those who have been selected to join our project will be vital in helping us implement this important project. In addition, we are planning a scheme to involve students in our working process by cooperating with leading universities. Our goal isn’t just to build a hydropower power plant – we also hope to contribute to the development of future generations of Georgian engineers and professionals.
– A new year will begin in just a few days. Is there anything that you would like to wish for our country in 2018?
I would like to wish Georgia and all of its citizens a prosperous and successful 2018.
Georgia has been moving steadily forward towards to achieving energy independence, we are dedicated to start the construction of the Namakhvani HPP with a significant contribution to this process in 2018.