Speeches & Statements

President Saakashvili opens new thermoelectric power stations in Gardabani


Today is a historic day.

Since independence we are opening the first big power plant in Georgia today. After independence Georgian energy system was in crisis, absolutely ruined and robbed. Georgia was in total blackout.

After the Rose Revolution the situation started improving. Last year we completed the construction and opened the Khadori hydroelectric power plant in the Pankisi Gorge. We also decided last year that in addition to hydroelectric power plants we needed thermoelectric power stations to make the Georgian energy system resilient. We began a search for partners to install gas turbines. We were short of time and needed a ready proposal. An American company made an offer and funds for the project were raised through cooperation between Russian and Georgian banks.

What we are opening today is a result of cooperation between American technology, engineering and material and Russian and Georgian capital. I think that this is a good example of cooperation. What happened yesterday [explosions on pipelines and the power line carrying Russian gas and electricity to Georgia] is an example of bad relations between countries. What is happening today is a good example of Georgian-American-Russian cooperation. We are always open for good cooperation like this and hope that there won't be any more bad examples.

Those who blew up the pipelines and the power line carrying gas and electricity to Georgia yesterday were hoping that the worst nightmare they had been promising us would come true. [They had been hoping] that Georgia would plunge into darkness and freeze. We didn't give them what they wanted.

We said a year ago that we should be ready for scenarios like this. Our enemy will do anything it can do to us. We should be able to have alternative sources to survive breakdowns and explosions. We have repaired hydroelectric power stations. We have improved power lines, which has enabled us to work with other countries. We have found resources for all of this and we will continue our work to this end. We couldn't have ensured the required level of resilience in one year. However, that Georgia didn't plunge into darkness, that the outages are not as catastrophic as they would have been a year ago, - not even a fraction of what would have been then - that we have managed to sustain pressure and power, that we have managed to keep children warm in orphanages, nurseries and schools where teaching will resume tomorrow is a result of the work of Georgian energy sector workers and the Georgian authorities.

At the same time, we should realize that we should diversify our energy sources. We should create new energy corridors, new infrastructure. I think that the events of recent months have demonstrated to the entire world that this no longer is an issue of either Georgia or Ukraine. [It is not an issue of] bilateral or trilateral relations. It is an issue of energy security for Europe and the entire world.

We started intensive work to this end a year ago. At that time it was hard to find partners because many thought that the existing world energy order was normal and acceptable. Today the whole world knows that the current energy order does not provide the guarantees every developed country needs. Georgia is ready to serve as a transit country and as an important pillar in a new energy system, an alternative that can be used by the whole region, Europe and the post-Soviet space.

We will continue cooperation. These gas turbines are needed to make the system much more resilient. In the summer we will announce tenders for the construction of small and medium-size hydroelectric power plants. Work to resume the construction of the Khudoni hydroelectric power plant continues. I am sure that we will achieve this goal as well once we have ensured the necessary commercial and political conditions. In any case, facilities like this gas turbine unit will be necessary for the system to be resilient.

Naturally, we hope that despite the unexpected doubling of the price gas supplies from Russia will be stabilized. Georgia will definitely achieve a diversification of gas supplies which will enable us to work in a much better protected and more predictable environment. I will repeat that we have been trying for a year to convince everyone of the need [to have alternative supplies]. In view of the well-known events it is much easier to convince people of this.

I also hope that [Georgia and Russia] will cooperate to find the perpetrators of last year's acts of sabotage on Georgia's energy facilities. We have requested that Russia hand over to us the people who blew up power lines in Georgia last year. We hope that those who carried out yesterday's explosions will be found and receive appropriate punishment. This is our wish and categorical demand. Another categorical demand is that such things should never happen again. We should create a much better environment to make sure that such things never happen again. No-one in the modern world speaks this language any more. We are moving towards much better, civilized relations. What is happening today is an example of civilized relations and good cooperation.

I am now ready to undertake this historic mission [open the unit]. I thank everyone who has worked on this project. I hope that it will become fully operational in the near future and that it will stabilize the supply of electricity to our towns and villages. This is a truly happy day for the Georgian energy sector.

This translation is published with permission from BBC Monitoring, Reading UK

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

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