Georgia is on its way of implementing major reforms in the fields of environmental protection and energy under EU - Georgia Association Agreement and European Energy Community membership. Despite important progress towards improving national legislation and regulatory frameworks, the practical implementation of the reforms are very slow.
A comprehensive energy strategy is absent until now and ad-hoc policy decisions are not based on sound information or analyses. Therefore, there are plenty of legitimate questions on which scenarios does the government count on when planning further increase of the hydropower capacities, while we see only slight progress with solar, wind and energy efficiency. Bunch of questions are related to the terms and conditions the government is granting to the private investors interested in the construction of medium and large HPPs in Georgia, especially when the decision-making process is not transparent enough. Additionally, experts and civil society organizations often express their concerns with regard to the technical and ecological safety of big energy projects. Above-mentioned concerns were repeatedly raised during the ongoing debates around Namakhvani Hydropower plant (424 MW) project recently.
At this discussion we asked the following questions: How does the Georgian government understands long-term sustainability of the energy sector? What are the real scenarios and alternatives Georgian government base their decisions on? How shall we guarantee compliance of the large energy projects with environmental, social and human rights standards? How does the state balance public and private interests in Georgia? What are the practical implications of the reforms initiated within the EU association process in the fields of energy and environmental protection? What are the best practices from EU countries.
Viola Von Cramon, Member of European Parliament, Alliance '90/The Greens
David Tvalabeishvili, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
Manana Kochladze, Director, Green Alternative
Moderator: Dr. Stefan Meister, Director, Heinrich Boell Foundation –Tbilisi, South Caucasus