The Georgian Electricity Sector in the Years 2010-2022 - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

The Georgian Electricity Sector in the Years 2010-2022

11 April, 2023

The present study examines the main indicators and trends of the Georgian electricity sector in the years 2010-2022, including the issues of electricity production, consumption, and trade. The study also describes the legal and physical persons involved in the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The study has shown that the consumption of electricity has increased in Georgia more than its generation, which has resulted in an increase in imports. The increase in exports is also contributed by the problem with energy efficiency. Georgia has a low indicator in terms of efficiency of electricity consumption. Import of electricity to Georgia is carried out by means of intermediary companies, which are owned by former high-ranking public officials. In recent years, the dependence of Georgia on Russian electricity has been low. 

Main Findings  
Intermediary companies and tariffs          
●    In the recent 10 years, the electricity tariffs for household consumption have increased by an average of 40% in Georgia. 
●    In recent years, the import of electricity to Georgia has been carried out by means of intermediary companies that are owned by former high-ranking officials. 
●    Intermediary companies import electricity with the aim of getting a profit, which increases the tariff. In spite of our interest, the relevant public agencies have yet to answer the question of why it became necessary to involve intermediaries in this process. 
●    The import of electricity from Azerbaijan involves a company “Elgreen Holdings Incorporated“ founded by the former Prime Minister, Zurab Noghaideli.
●   The import of electricity from Russia involves Lux Energy Trading LLC (former Inter-RAO Georgia LLC). A 50.01% stake in Lux Energy Trading LLC is owned by the Russian Inter-RAO, while a 49.99% stake’s final beneficial owner is Vakhtang Ambokadze. Vakhtang Ambokadze held the position of the Director General of the Energy System Commercial Operator of Georgia until 2019 and he is connected with former Minister of Economy Ivane Chkhartishvili.

Electric power generation and consumption  
●    In the years 2011-2022, local generation of electricity in Georgia increased by 42% and reached its maximum level of 14,247 m KWh in 2022.
●   Up to 75% of the electricity produced in Georgia is generated by hydroelectric power plants (HPPs), up to 24% comes from thermal power plants (TPPs), and up to 1% – from wind power plants. 26% of electricity produced in Georgia is generated by the Enguri HPP. Since 2010, the total volume of electricity generated by HPPs has increased by 15%.   
●    At the end of 2022, there were 109 HPPs, 5 TPPs, and 1 wind power plant in Georgia. There are 7 regulating, 18 seasonal, and 84 small HPPs operating in Georgia. 
●    61% of the electricity generated in Georgia comes from HPPs and TPPs owned by Georgia (state-owned and private); 13% is generated by HPPs owned by a Czech company, specifically, Energo-Pro Georgia, and 7% comes from HPPs owned by citizens of Ukraine.  
●    In the years 2011-2022, electricity consumption in Georgia increased by 68% and reached its maximum level of 14,181 m KWh in 2022. The consumption of electricity in Tbilisi rose by 55%, and in the regions of Georgia – by 57%.       
●   At the end of 2022, 56 enterprises were direct consumers of electricity, i.e., they did not buy electricity from distribution companies. Among these, in 2022 the highest amount – 1,067 m KWh – was consumed by the Zestaponi Ferroalloys Plant.  
●   In the years 2021-2022, BFDC Company’s (producer of crypto currencies) share in electricity local consumption was 2.2%. The crypto currency enterprise of BFDC operates in a free economic area and enjoys tax privileges. This raises a lot of questions on how justified and useful it is for the country’s economy to support such enterprises which consume an extremely large volume of energy, although they don’t create a lot of jobs and are exempt from a part of state taxes.   The company belongs Valery Vavilov, a citizen of Latvia.
●    In Georgia in 2021, goods and services worth USD 1.73 were created with every 1 KWh of electricity consumed, and Georgia ranked 164th among 180 countries of the world with this indicator, which indicates an inefficient use of electricity. Together with generation of electricity, it is important to consume it efficiently.
Import and export of electricity  
●    In the years 2011-2022, the imports of electricity increased 7 times. Excluding the territories occupied by Russia, the imports increased 3 times. 
●  In 2010, the share of imports in electricity consumption was 2.6%. From 2017, consumption of electricity increased significantly in Georgia. This main reason for this may be the electricity spent on the generation of cryptocurrencies. In 2021, the share of imports in the consumption reached 14.6%, the main reason for which was the partial stoppage of the Enguri HPP. In 2022, the share of imports in the consumption decreased to 4.5%. 
●   A record volume of electricity – 1,524 m KWh – was exported in 2010. In the following years, the exports tended to decrease, and in 2021, 391 m KWh of electricity was exported from Georgia. Compared to 2021, exports increased 2.5 times in 2022
●    In 2022, 89% of the electricity exported from Georgia (971 million kWh) went to Turkey and 11% went to Armenia.

Dependence on Russia
●    Georgia is not significantly dependent on Russian electricity, and even if the imports of electricity from Russia stops completely, an energy crisis will not be created.
●    In 2017-2022, the largest importer of electricity to Georgia was Azerbaijan, with a share of 66% on average. In 2021, the share of Russia in the imports was 25%. In 2022, the situation changed and Russia’s share in the imports increased to 58%.   
●    Excluding the electricity that flowed to the occupied Abkhazia, in 2021 the share of Russian electricity in Georgia’s internal consumption was 1.8%, and in 2022, it amounted to 2.6%.
●    In the peak months for imports, the share of Russian electricity in Georgia’s internal consumption in 2022 was as follows: January – 4.6%, February – 0.6%, March – 13%.
●    The HHPs owned by Russian citizens and companies only generate 5% of the electricity generated in Georgia. 

●    The need for the involvement of intermediary companies in the import of electricity should be substantiated. At the same time, the terms with which the current intermediate companies were selected and the share they retain from the amount paid for the import of electricity should be transparent. 
●    The events underway in the world today clearly demonstrate the importance of a country’s energy independence. Accordingly, the main goal of the energy policy of Georgia should be to increase the efficiency of electricity consumption and local generation;