Georgia’s State Policy in the Electricity Sector: A Brief History and Ongoing Processes - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Georgia’s State Policy in the Electricity Sector: A Brief History and Ongoing Processes

11 January, 2010

The internal political stability and economic development of a country greatly depend on the function of its energy sector. In 1991 immediately after gaining independence, Georgia’s energy sector found itself under heavy attack. The wishes and hopes of the Georgian government to meet the interests of the US and the EU (to receive Caspian gas and oil through Georgia) and become one of the points of the East-West energy chain conflicted with the interests of Russia, the dominant country in the region. Russia wanted to assume the role of the producer, as well as a transporting country for energy resources. Such was the context of a geo-strategic regional controversy between Russia and developed western countries from 1993 to 2002. Georgia, as one of the spheres of alternative transportation of energy resources, found itself in the center of this controversy. As a result of the recurrences of civil war and controversial geo-strategic interests in the region from 1993 to 2002, Georgia’s energy sector gradually collapsed. This collapse was caused by different suspicious incidents (which according to the findings of investigations could be qualified as terrorist acts) and the inability of state institutions to take care of vitally important energy units. Due to negligence and lack of care, the conditions of generation units, electricity transmission lines, gas pipes, and the units dependant on them gradually deteriorated. Just the Enguri Power Station, which is still being rehabilitated, experienced several accidents, none of which have been fully investigated. The first accident happened in December 1993, two months after the fall of Sukhumi. In 1995 after the attack on the Enguri Power Station, its 500 kilowatt unit was completely destroyed. During the last accident in November 2002, it was again seriously damaged.