Georgia to launch electricity exports to Turkey this spring
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 10 /. Trend, E. Kosolapova /
Georgia plans to launch electricity exports this spring as a part of the "Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Energy Bridge" project, the Georgian Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Marika Valishvili told Trend over the phone on Thursday.
"We do not want to miss the coming export season, which runs from April to July. This means that we would like to have this route launched by late March. This is our goal", Valishvili said.
The deputy minister said all work in Georgia on the reconstruction and construction of power transmission lines within the "Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Energy Bridge" project has been completed. However, the construction of a small line segment in Turkey has to be completed before exports can be launched.
"They are going to complete it within two months, at the longest. We plan to have the entire infrastructure fixed by sometime in March. Starting in April, we will launch exports from Georgia to Turkey", Valishvili said.
She said Georgia plans to export up to 500 million kilowatt-hours during the export period within the first stage.
"Exports will depend on domestic consumption in the country, and will be determined by excess. Current estimates indicate that there are between 400-500 million kilowatt-hours of excess", Valishvili said.
The minister went on to say that the export of electricity will be increased in the future once a number of power plants which are under construction are commissioned.
"Several energy projects are currently in progress. Several hydropower plants will be put into operation step-by-step starting in late 2014. Export resources will subsequently increase year to year. But it is difficult to specify the exact date of their commissioning", Valishvili said.
She noted that the export of one or two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity can be completely absorbed by the Turkish market.
At the same time, Valishvili did not exclude the reverse flow of electricity from Turkey to Georgia during winter when there are electricity shortages in the country.
"The infrastructure of the "Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Energy Bridge" project allows for this", the deputy minister said.
However, she said that commercial aspects of this option have not yet been discussed.
"We are now importing electricity from Russia, discussing imports from Azerbaijan, and will discuss them with Armenia. This means, we have alternatives. But, electricity prices in Turkey are very high in comparison to other markets. Therefore, the country appears to be the last option for imports", Valishvili said.
Thus, Valishvili concluded that electricity imports from Turkey will be beneficial only by barter or swap arrangements, or through other similar transactions.