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Georgia, USAID Agreement Hopes to Create Increase in Private Sector Development Projects

A new partnership between the United States Agency for International Development and the Georgian government is intended to help spur private development of hydroelectric projects.

USAID and Georgia's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources signed a letter declaring their intent to implement the program -- called the Georgian Electricity Market Model 2015 (GEMM 2015) -- as a "core strategy" for the country's energy sector earlier this week.

According to Georgia officials, GEMM 2015 will promote private development of new hydro power construction by giving energy producers easier means of selling their power to Turkey and other regional markets.

USAID has a history of supporting hydro projects in Georgia, and said GEMM 2015 grew out from the response it received during previous projects.

"The hydro electrical power development project initially started with a series of studies to help identify potential investors for one of the hydroelectric facilities," USAID Mission Director Stephen Haykin said. "In the course of doing this, we were trying to attract investors to Georgia. We got feedback and saw Georgia is in need of changes in policy structures and institutions."

Georgia's Ministry of Energy will seek further input from the country's National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GENRC), and local and foreign experts.

The Ministry of Energy said it hopes to have the new market model formed by the end of 2014, with implementation to begin in 2015.

HydroWorld.com has previously reported that Georgia has as much as 32 TWh of hydroelectric potential, and the Bank of Georgia and Germany's kWh signed a deal for small hydro development in November 2012.

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