“The Partnership Fund” is constructing Nenskra HPP together with a Korean company, K-Water, in Svaneti, on the Enguri River tributary. Nenskra HPP will start generating electric power in 2019. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Natia Turnava, Deputy CEO of the Partnership Fund, talks to “Business Morning” on Nenskra HPP potential.
-Natia, what are your comments on the significance of an investor like K-Water is in Georgia?
-“The Partnership Fund” takes special pride in having partners like K-Water. It is a megacompany that is responsible for 60% of supply of electric power throughout Korea. The company holds $20 billion worth of assets, and enjoys very high rating internationally. However, it is not just that. Firstly, K-Water is a very old, tradition-based company that is soon going to turn 50 years old. The company has a longtime tradition of construction and management of waterworks. Since our first meeting in late 2013, a special emphasis always has been made on safety issues in view of Nenskra development project, should it be technical or environmental safety. -What experience did the “Partnership Fund” gain from dealing with such an investor as K-Water? – 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 with 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 hydro power plant 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 after 36 years since 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 to employment of 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 hydro power plants is presently being constructed in Georgia. There are plenty of investors as well. Small hydro power 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 hydro power plant “Inguri” at least by as many as 2/3. Despite the rehabilitation that Inguri hydro power plant went through, and despite being well-functioning, it was built in 1970s after all. In view of this, Inguri HPP is not in perfect condition. Unless in 5-7 years such a hydro power plant like Nenskra is gives backing to Ingury hydro power 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 import. Nenskra hydro power plant is a harbinger and will actually promote other large scale hydro power plants. Most probably Nenskra HPP will be followed by ’’Khudony“, ’’Namakhvani“, ’’Oni Cascade“. This means that eventually Georgia’s electric power sector is not going to be at risk.