U.S. ambassador joins launch of Georgia’s 800-kW Sulori

Georgia’s Ministry of Energy said United States Ambassador John Tefft joined Georgia officials to participate in the December 2 reopening of the 800-kW Sulori hydroelectric project, which was redeveloped with the assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

In 2007, USAID’s Rural Energy Program was asked to inspect the Sulori project, which operated from 1953 to 1987 only to be shut down due to an economic downturn. The project was privatized in March 2007 by Sulori HESI Ltd.

The Rural Energy Program performed an inspection of the project, in the village of Salkhino, Vani District, Imereti Region. It identified a list of rehabilitation works and helped the owner develop a business plan for obtaining a loan from a Georgia commercial bank.

Based on the business plan, Sulori HESI obtained a loan from Cartu Bank for nearly 40 percent of the rehabilitation cost, with the remainder coming from owner’s equity. The developer obtained mechanical and electrical equipment, built a water intake, and reconstructed a discharge channel.

Sulori is to generate 4.5 million kilowatt-hours annually for sale to Georgia’s Electricity System Commercial Operator and possibly to local direct customers.

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