EU Agrees to Fund New Cable Bringing Power From Caucasus Region


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(Bloomberg) —

The European Union plans to help fund a power cable connecting Georgia and Azerbaijan with EU countries across the Black Sea.

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European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen met leaders of the four nations involved at a signing ceremony on Saturday. The total value of the project wasn’t disclosed. Plans for the power line, the first directly linking the EU with the Caucasus region, are part of efforts by the bloc to diversify energy sources and keep a lid on prices.

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“Since the beginning of Russia’s war, we have decided to turn our back on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify towards reliable energy partners, and it is working,” Von Der Leyen said in Bucharest. “The Black Sea electric cable is a new transmission route full of opportunities as it could also help bring electricity to our neighbors in Moldova, the Western Balkans and, of course, to Ukraine.” 

As well as Romania, the cable will bring electricity to Hungary. A detailed feasibility study is expected to be completed in September next year and construction to be completed in six years. 

“We are proud to be part of a globally unique investment because when there’s a strategic vacuum, the importance of innovation rises,” Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban said in Bucharest. “If I were 30 years younger I would say this really rocks.”

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Once completed, the line will boost Azerbaijan’s power exports to the EU, with the country estimating its renewable power capacity at 27 gigawatt, according to President Ilham Aliyev. The nation is becoming increasingly important to European countries for energy supply: At least 10 have struck agreements with Baku to import more of its natural gas in a bid to reduce reliance on Russian flows.

It plans to raise gas flows to the EU to 11.6 billion cubic meters next year, Aliyev said in Bucharest. 

Georgia’s Economy Ministry this month touted the power-cable project, saying it will involve the construction of about 1,195 kilometers (740 miles) of underground and underwater transmission lines, capable of carrying as much as 1 gigawatt of electricity

—With assistance from Helena Bedwell, Veronika Gulyas and Jillian Deutsch.


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