IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are helping Georgia tap its hydropower potential and achieve energy self-sufficiency by investing in the construction and operation of the Shuakhevi hydropower plant, EBRD reported.
The $250 million debt financing arranged by IFC represents the largest-ever private hydropower investment in Georgia, consisting of two $90 million long-term senior loans, one each from ADB and EBRD, and $70 million from IFC. IFC's total investment in this project is $104 million, which includes a $34 million equity investment in the project company, Adjaristsqali Georgia, a joint venture between India's Tata Power and Norway's Clean Energy Invest (40 percent each), and IFC (20 percent).
The Shuakhevi plant will satisfy Georgia's electricity demand during winter, reducing dependence on imported fuel and increasing renewable energy output. It will also foster cross-border electricity trading at other times of the year by exporting electricity to Turkey through a transmission line financed by EBRD. The project will benefit local communities by helping create jobs, boosting municipal incomes, and upgrading area roads.
"Through the strong partnerships fostered with the Georgian government, our equity partners, Tata Power, IFC, and the other lending institutions, we are realizing the renewable energy potential of Georgia," said Baard Mikkelsen, Chairman of Clean Energy. "This project demonstrates that non-recourse cross border financing is available for greenfield hydro projects in Georgia, and will be important for the development of the sector and Georgia."
Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Power, said: "I would like to thank the Government of Georgia for their support in exploring Georgia's huge hydropower potential. We are also grateful to our strategic partners, Clean Energy and IFC Infra Ventures, for putting us on a strong footing. We are confident that the potential will be realized with exemplary clean governance and speed of action."
Michael Barrow, ADB Deputy Director General for Private Sector Operations Department, said: "The project will promote regional cooperation and generate additional revenues for Georgia through energy trade. This groundbreaking renewable energy investment highlights the important role ADB plays in leveraging support for energy security and environmentally sustainable growth in the region."
Some $15 million of ADB's $90 million in financing will be provided by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, funded by Canada's government and administered by ADB.
Nandita Parshad, EBRD Director for Power and Energy, said: "It is particularly fulfilling to see private investment in energy generation projects stimulated by EBRD's initial investment in the Georgia-Turkey cross-border transmission line. It is a prime example of how the bank facilitates private sector investment as part of its mandate to help countries transition to open market economies."
Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Regional Industry Head of Infrastructure in Europe, Middle East and North Africa region, said: "We continue to support the Georgian government's efforts to tap the country's full hydropower potential by jointly developing world-class projects with private companies and bringing in important international players, like Tata Power. The Shuakhevi project is expected to strengthen investor confidence in Georgia and stimulate more private sector investment in the sector."
The project is the first hydropower project in Georgia certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for carbon emission reductions. It is expected to produce about 450 gigawatt hours of power annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200,000 tons per year. The project will develop the 187-megawatt Shuakhevi hydropower scheme, consisting of the Shuakhevi and Skhalta hydropower plants located in the Adjara region, in southwest Georgia. Work on the plant began in September 2013 with a target to start producing electricity in 2016.
IFC has supported the project since its early development, in 2011, through IFC InfraVentures, together with Clean Energy Invest. India's largest integrated power company and a pioneer in hydropower generation in India, Tata Power, came on board in 2013. IFC's investment will be complemented by World Bank financing of the power transmission line, which will connect the plant to Georgia's national grid and improve power supply to the Adjara region.