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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Supports Secure and Reliable Supply of Power in Georgia

May 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2014 – The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors approved today US$60 million International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing for the Transmission Grid Strengthening Project for Georgia.

The project development objective is to provide reliable power transmission to the southwestern part of the grid, upgrade electricity exchange systems, and provide economically efficient, environmentally and socially sustainable electricity sector planning. The project will help to enhance security of electricity supply by increasing the economic benefits of hydropower assets and regional power trade, and minimizing adverse environmental and social impacts of hydropower development.

Over the past decade, the Government has made remarkable strides towards improving power sector performance, which has transformed the power sector from the verge of collapse to one that provides reliable electricity at reasonable cost,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.

In collaboration with the programs of the Government and other development partners, the project will support: (i) strengthening and expanding the electricity transmission grid to ensure reliable services to consumers and suppliers of power; (ii) establishing systems for local and regional power exchange; and (iii) developing an analytical foundation for economically efficient, environmentally and socially sustainable planning for the electricity sector.

The project will also contribute to the objectives of the Government’s Socioeconomic Development Strategy 2020 and the World Bank Group’s new Country Partnership Strategy for Georgia. The project will contribute to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The project will support proposed investments in the Adjaristsqali River Hydropower development.

 “The Georgian economy needs affordable, reliable, and clean sources of power. Georgia is endowed with untapped hydropower potential, which is comparable to that of the leading hydropower producing countries in the world.  The project will enable more secure and reliable supply of power to Georgia and Adjara region in particular,” said Joseph Melitauri, World Bank Team Leader for the Transmission Grid Strengthening Project.

The power consumers of Georgia will benefit from more secure and reliable power supply from a cleaner source of electricity. The new transmission line envisaged by the project will connect the planned Adjaristsqali River hydropower plants to the grid. The southwestern part of Georgia, Adjara region, and Batumi area will have fewer power outages and thus more secure supply of electricity.

Since Georgia joined the World Bank in 1992, a total of 57 projects comprising over US$1.95 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country. The current portfolio consists of seven active investment projects for a total of US$600 million.