What has Silk Road Energy achieved developing and investing in Georgian hydro?
We are very proud of what we have accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. In just 7 years we have assembled a highly skilled and experienced local workforce, developed a valuable network of contacts locally and abroad, and begun development of new hydro projects in Georgia. Even more importantly we have achieved financial viability through creating the infrastructure, operational expertise and an ongoing contractual presence in the market here and abroad. We have certainly set everything up for future export of our carbon neutral product to Europe, and continue to be have a great deal of ambition to expand into even bigger renewable projects
Can you tell us about a project that you consider to be the most significant for Silk Road Energy?
The commissioning of the Bakhvi power plant was our first major accomplishment but recently it was overlapped by another successful event – the beginning of trans-border sales to Turkey. Now we have reached another major inflection point by issuing Bonds, which is an unique step in not only the Georgian financial market, but also the electricity market. Looking ahead an even greater accomplishment is soon to come when we complete the Machakhela power plant project. And one more thing, I am personally very proud of the fish ladder and other fish passage impact mitigation projects we have added to the Bakhvi power plant. They were all designed and built under the guidance of Austrian, German, Turkish and Georgian engineers, and all of them are fully functional.
Why anybody should be buying a Bond of the Bakhvi power plant?
There are a number of reasons—First, because our Bonds are in US dollars which translates into better stability of income to the bondholders. Second, we propose highly valued interests rates, which equals a great return on investments. Third, our Bonds are backed-up by highly sustainable and demandable product – electricity can be exported and never goes wasted. Fourth, we give the investors opportunity to become a part of the highly respected Silk Road Group on profitable terms, while helping the environment. Fifth, because we already have established stable streams of income, locally and internationally, which can repay these unsecured bonds entirely on their own.
Having experience in the business running and developing projects what advice would you give to a new developer of renewables and particularly hydro in Georgia?
First of all, even though it’s hard sometimes to pull yourself up to that pro level, renewable power is now all part an international market, so you have to not only observe best international practices, but you have to predict the future of those practices and be proactive socially and environmentally. But also, this is a rather unique country to work in, so you have to be creative and innovative while finding business solutions to problems.
What environmental-friendly practices do you employ to ensure sustainability in operations and development?
We invest a great deal in the protection of the environment, and we employ a number of measures to aid fish movement in our projects. Moreover, we not only plan to continue doing so—and push even further—by employing consultants and improved quality management techniques and implementing best emerging international practices. Our goals are bold, but the steps we take to accomplish them are always practical.