"This has particular importance for the rural areas where the efficient use of local resources helps improve life standards and supports local production. Local energy resources in Georgia allow for establishing a solid basis for energy security and, as a future prospect, for exporting surplus energy to the international market." -- Giorgi Khachidze, Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources.
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In 2010 A new mini hydro power plant opened in the village of Chiora in the with help from the United Nations Development Program. This village is located in the Racha region of Georgia in Central Asia. The mini hydro plant produces 70-kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy per year providing village residents with a year-round energy supply.
The hydro power plant was built with a UNDP program called "Supporting Small Hydro Resources at the Level of Rural Communities" and funded by the Norwegian Government. 100 thousand U.S. dollars were spent on construction.
The Oni Municipality, after the hydro plant was handed over by the UNDP, is now responsible for arranging with the local power distribution company to connect the Chiora hydro power plant to the electric network.
This hydro plant has particular importance for rural areas such as Chiora. It provides an energy source for many locals who do not have regular power service. It also can be used as a commodity to sell excess power back to the grid.
Hydro power provides 50 percent of the country's generating capacity at the present time, and there is opportunity for further development. Hydro power will continue to play a major role in Georgia's electricity mix due to positive hydrological conditions and limited fuel supply.
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