During a joint press conference Feb. 16 in Tehran, Iran, Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said his country is seeking Iranian investment in the construction of hydroelectric power plants, according to published reports.
The specific locations of the plants or the amount of their installed capacity was not announced, but Kaladze said Georgia is planning to put US$700 million into renovating the country’s electricity systems, facilities and equipment.
Kaladze said there are 25,000 rivers in Georgia, 300 of which could be used as a source for setting up hydropower plants. He went on to say Iranian companies would develop and build the facilities and as of Feb. 15, visa requirements between the two countries have been removed.
According to a report published in the Tehran Times, Kaladze said only 18% to 20% of Georgia’s water supplies are used for generating power and the country intends to increase the amount of energy it generates from hydropower.
Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian in the same press conference said:
- Iranian companies have adequate experience in building dams and power plants and Iran will build hydroelectric power plants in Georgia because Georgia enjoys great potential for generating hydroelectric power;
- Iran will collaborate with Georgia in development and renovation of Georgia’s electrical grid; and
- With regard to Georgia's hydroelectric development projects, plans have been made to increase the capacity of the transmission line between Iran and Georgia from 300 MW to 1,500 MW.
The sides have not announced an immediate timetable to begin the endeavor, but Georgia is also in the midst of other hydropower development on the Nenskra River in the country’s Upper Svaneti region.
In May 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to provide US$200 million for Georgia's 280-MW Nenskra hydropower plant.
The financing will help Georgia's state-owned shareholding company, Partnership Fund (PF), construct the $1 billion project.
The hydroelectric plant is being developed by Korea Water Resources Corp. and the company signed an agreement in 2014 with PF to construct the plant.