Ironically, two ex-Soviet republics should help the EU in the electricity dilemma

Ironically, green electricity from the two former Soviet territories of Azerbaijan and Georgia should make the EU less dependent on energy supplies from countries like Russia, which no longer fit politically on their agenda.

This requires the construction of an underwater cable through the Black Sea. The 1,100-kilometer cable with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts is to run from Azerbaijan via Georgia through the Black Sea to reach EU territory in Romania.

The heads of state and government of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary have concluded a corresponding agreement with the EU, and the project should be completed in three years.

Azerbaijan wants to use the cable to export electricity from offshore wind farms to Europe. “In order to integrate a growing proportion of renewable energies, we do indeed need stronger electricity grids,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. That is why the Black Sea cable between Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan is so important.

Electricity should also supply war zones in Ukraine

The EU is ready to support the project financially. It will help improve security of supply. In addition, the plant could transform Georgia into an electricity hub and integrate it into the EU internal market.

According to von der Leyen and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the undersea cable will also benefit Moldova and Ukraine, whose energy security has been compromised by Russian bombing.

According to President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan currently produces 27 gigawatts of wind and solar energy and is developing projects such as more offshore facilities in the Caspian Sea.

They are to increase the capacity by four gigawatts by the end of 2027, which corresponds to around a quarter of the capacities that are currently connected to the grid in Germany. Georgia, on the other hand, generates around three quarters of its electricity with its own hydroelectric power plants.

The rest comes from fossil energy. For decades, the country was also dependent on Moscow for energy, but was able to significantly reduce this dependency. However, larger grids are needed to be able to export electricity.

EU wants to prevent Russian attacks on infrastructure

The underwater power cable is to be supplemented by a fiber optic project. It is intended to speed up the European data connection to Asia via Georgia. At the same time, the cable will run away from Russian territory and is thus beyond Russian control.

The European Commission specifically wants to reduce the region’s dependence on Russian network infrastructure. How safe both cables are is open. MEP Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens/EFA) has pointed out that Russia is ready to target sensitive infrastructure.

So far, however, no acts of Russian sabotage have been documented in the Black Sea. In 2022 there had been some unsolved attacks on data lines.

In the Far East, China has just stalled some projects to lay and maintain underwater internet cables through the South China Sea. Beijing is trying to gain more control over the network infrastructure, also because of the Taiwan question.

The contribution “Two ex-Soviet republics of all people should help the EU in the electricity dilemma” comes from economic courier.

Jean Harris

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