Nenskra Hydropower Plant is a Unique Project for Georgia

JSC Partnership Fund, Georgia’s largest state-owned investment fund, is constructing what will be Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) together with a Korean company, K-Water, in Svaneti, on a tributary of the Enguri River. Natia Turnava, Deputy Director of the Fund, talked with us about Nenskra HPP’s potential. 

-Natia, what are your comments on the significance of an investor like K-Water in Georgia? 

The Partnership Fund takes special pride in having partners like K-Water. It is a megacompany that is responsible for 60% of the supply of electric power throughout Korea. The company holds $20 billion worth of assets, and enjoys very high ratings internationally. However, it is not only that. Firstly, K-Water is a very old, tradition-based company that will soon turn 50 years old. The company has a long tradition of construction and management of waterworks. Since our first meeting in late 2013, a special emphasis has always been made on safety issues at the Nenskra development project, both technical and environmental safety.

-What experience did the Partnership Fund gain from dealing with an investor such as K-Water?

The Nenskra project itself is somewhat unique for Georgia and represents a huge source of experience and expertise. On top of the benefits that the project will bring to our country, it is a very interesting project as along with K-Water the project is supported by a stellar team of financial institutions represented in Georgia. So, the cooperation with K-Water has been vast experience for us. 

- What is particularly unique in this format for the project? 

It is unique for Georgia’s energy system as Nenskra HPP is being implemented based on BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer). We have never used a BOT model in Georgia before. However, it is quite a common form across the world. This means that 36 years after its commissioning, the well-functioning hydropower plant will be transferred to the Georgian state for free. Our government can clearly see the possibility that our next generation will get electric power from Nenskra HPP like we do today from Inguri HPP. Therefore, our state will support the investor more confidently. In fact, benefits from the project are very clear, so our state is motivated. 

The region where Nenskra hydro power plant is being constructed is getting so many benefits. Such large infrastructure projects impact villages and settlements. We jointly tried to turn this into a positive impact. The project location selected is outside of the scope of the settlements. The local people are going to benefit and are already benefitting from the project. The project gives priority employment to the local population in Georgia. This is commercially beneficial as well. One of the most important outcomes of the implementation of the project is associated with security of our country as there is no development without security. By security here I mean energy security. Let me point out that our energy market today is steadily growing. it should be said that a number of small hydropower plants are presently being constructed in Georgia. There are plenty of investors as well. Small hydropower plants, however, can’t supply electric power substantially all across the country in winter. From this perspective, our present-day energy market particularly depends on just one hydropower plant, “Inguri,” for at least as much as two-thirds of the supply. Despite the rehabilitation that Inguri hydro power plant went through, and despite being well-functioning, it was, after all, built in the 1970s. In view of this, Inguri HPP is not in perfect condition. Unless in 5-7 years a hydropower plant such as Nenskra is able to support the Inguri hydropower plant, we will face certain energy issues and consequently we may become more vulnerable in terms of energy security and be largely dependent on energy imports. Nenskra hydropower plant is a harbinger and will actually promote other large-scale hydropower plants. Most probably, Nenskra HPP will be followed by “Khudony,” “Namakhvani,” and “Oni Cascade.” This means that eventually Georgia’s electric power sector will not be at risk.


30 May 2018 16:11