For the last decade, the government of Georgia has promoted hydropower as a way of tackling energy security and turning the country into a regional energy player. The EBRD has been one of the key catalysts of this hydro boom. Yet the presence of the EBRD and other international financial institutions has not been enough to ensure the development of comprehensive energy strategies, robust project assessments and meaningful public consultations. The potential for social and environmental problems is therefore prevalent. The Nenskra hydropower plant is yet another project that lacks the proper assessment and has failed to gain acceptance from the local communities.
The Georgian Ministry of Environment has commissioned an external review of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Nenskra hydropower plant before issuing its ecological expertise opinion which is a prerequisite for a construction permit. This review indicates that the ESIA report for Nenskra fails to sufficiently define the area of influence, suggest project alternatives, assess the impacts on the local communities and evaluate the costs and benefits of the project for the Georgian society.