President Saakashvili convened late on February 25 an emergency meeting of the government to discuss, as he put it, the energy crisis which persists in the country. Currently, only the capital Tbilisi enjoys with round-the-clock electricity supply, while in other regions and cities of Georgia electricity supply is limited.
“We [the current government] have not launched this [energy] crisis, but this should be us who must put an end to this crisis,” President Saakashvili said while addressing the government’s meeting, which was broadcasted live.
“I consider overcoming energy crisis as the government’s top priority,” he added.
Energy Minister Nika Gilauri, who has become in the focus of public attention in recent days, because of speculations regarding his possible dismissal, presented a two-year program outlining those activities, which should be carried out in order to overcome current crisis.
He said that two priorities are outlined in the program, which should be achieved in the next two years: security of energy supplies and profitability of the energy sector.
“Security of energy supplies envisages diversification of sources of electricity supplies. We should not be depended only on one power transmission line, on one power plant etc.” he said.
“The second priority is the energy sector’s profitability. The energy sector should not be depended on donor organizations and donor countries’ assistance; it should not be depended on the state budgetary resources,” the Energy Minister said.
Gilauri said that Georgia’s current deficit in electricity totals to 200-300 megawatts.
“Construction of the gas turbine electricity generator with total capacity of 200-300 megawatts is planned to be launched soon. We expect constructions to be over in maximum two years,” he said.
“But even after this gas turbine electricity generator is put into operation we will still need to import electricity,” Gilauri added.
He said that currently Georgia imports 350-400 megawatts from Russia and approximately 200 megawatts from Armenia
When President Saakashvili asked the Energy Minister what should be done to increase import of electricity from Armenia and Azerbaijan, Gilauri responded, that “increase of import from Armenia will be very difficult because of the limited capacity of the transmission lines.”
“From Azerbaijan we can increase import by additional 80 megawatt,” he added.
President Saakashvili instructed Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli to personally oversee implementation of this two-year program.
“If we fail to implement this, we should stand responsible for this failure,” Mikheil Saakashvili added.
“With the capacities currently available in Georgia it is impossible to provide round-the-clock electricity to entire Georgia,” the President stated.
He said funds received from privatization process will be used for construction of the new energy facilities. “We will need to invest in energy sector approximately USD 150 million,” Saakashvili added.