Georgia’s is preparing to utilise its wind energy potential through the creation of the country’s first wind farm.
The inaugural wind power plant will include two turbines and is expected to be operational by next spring. The plant is earmarked to be built between Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi and nearby Gori, a small city in eastern Georgia, and produce 20-MW of power per year, announced Georgian officials today.
The €25 million (60 million GEL) project will be implemented by the Georgian Energy Development Fund (GEDF), a joint stock company established by the Government of Georgia, together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
A tender to purchase the turbines has been announced and in October-November, once the turbines were in Georgia, construction of the new power station will begin.
Officials noted the wind farm would start producing energy in the second quarter of 2016.
"First there will be a kind of test works. We will observe how the plant works and if there are no problems then we will start thinking about expanding the plant and adding another 100-150 MW [turbine] on the same territory,” said GEDF project manager Tornike Khazarashvili.
He said energy created from the new facility would be transferred to the national grid and be distributed around the country.
Georgia’s wind energy initiative was announced in May 2013, which at the time, Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said plant operations would begin in 2014.
"We have already started to prepare to use the wind farms' power," he said. "Next year the stations will be used in pilot mode, but they will be small.”
According to the EBRD’s Renewable Development Initiative, hydro power was the country’s most dominant energy resource but wind and geothermal energy sectors were promising resources.
The EBRD estimated Georgia’s wind power potential could reach two GW, while other industry sources estimated the country’s wind potential could reach five GW - almost half the nation’s annual energy use.
A feasibility study by Tbilisi’s Karenergo Wind Energy Scientific Centre revealed rich wind resources in the Chorokhi River Gorge, Paravani Lake, the Likhi mountain range, Mukhrani field, the outskirts of Kutaisi, parts of Tbilisi, the outskirts of Rustavi and the areas between Khashuri and Gori.
"We have all the materials needed to start building wind turbines there but currently interest … isn’t high enough,” said Archil Zedginidze, Karenergo director.
Meanwhile one small wind turbine was currently operational in the Skra village however the facility could only produce 22, 000 KWh of energy per year - enough for only a couple of households. The project to establish this wind turbine cost about $25,000 USD (about 55,000 GEL) and was funded by USAID.