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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
11

Why Is Georgia Importing So Much Electricity?

In October 2017, Georgian power plants generated 828 mln. KWh of electricity, marginally up (+0.79%) compared to September. Following the traditional seasonal pattern, the share of electricity produced by renewable sources declined to 71% of total generation (87% in September), while thermal power generation’s share increased, accounting for 29% of total generation (compared to 13% in September). When we compare last October’s total generation with the total generation of October 2016, however, we observe an 8.7% decrease in total generation (in October ...
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Nov
06

The Long, Hot Summer: Why We Witnessed a Spike in Forest Fires, and What Can Be Done About It – Part II (man-made fires)

Forest fires pose a threat to human life and property. As we discussed in a previous article, most countries throughout the world, Georgia included, suffered from an unusually high number of forest fires during the summer of 2017. In Georgia, this topic was the subject of a spirited public debate about whether these fires were wild or man-made. In our previous article we discussed how natural causes generate wild forest fires. We mentioned that climate change can play a major role in the occurrence of forest fires, because drier conditions and longer hot...
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Oct
02

The Long, Hot Summer: Why Did We Witness a Spike in Forest Fires and What Can Be Done About It – Part I

In the summer of 2017, Georgia experienced an unusually high number of forest fires across the entire country. 35 forest fires were recorded just in August (official data reporting the size of area burned by these fires is not yet available). In almost all regions of the country, several fires were reported. Among them, the conflagration in the Borjomi gorge had the most dramatic consequences: it lasted for seven days (20-27 August), and more than 100 hectares of forest were destroyed. Many people claim that these cannot be all accidental events. Is this...
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Jun
24

Making Nature’s Value Visible as a Step Towards (Greater) Sustainable Development

After the Rose Revolution, in the name of of economic growth, the Georgian government set aside environmental issues and focused on a quick economic recovery. This is understandable, as the Georgian economy was still recovering from the collapse of the early 90’s, and the pressure to accelerate the process was high. At that time, the existing environmental regulations were perceived as an additional constraint to faster growth, and as potentially fertile ground for corruption. Getting rid of those regulations was perceived as the fastest and most effecti...
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Jun
05

Commercializing Science: Story of the Phage

All over the world, the quest for technological innovation is proceeding with great intensity. Georgia is not an exception. While local universities are trying to build fab-labs (fabrication laboratories - small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication), the government has established the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) to support the creation of start-ups and tech companies. In addition, there are still a large number (more than 60) of still-operating former Soviet scientific institutions, either working independently, or u...
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