500kV Black Sea submarine cable to connect Georgia to the EU

500kV Black Sea submarine cable to connect Georgia to the EU

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The EU has signed a deal for a €2bn 500kV submarine power cable from Georgia to Romania.

The cable has been in discussions for a couple of years but the war in Ukraine has highlighted the need for more sources of energy. The cable would connect to the European electricity grid, which now includes Ukraine, particularly providing access to wind farms being built in Georgia and neighboring countries.

“This agreement will bring the European Union closer to our partners in the South Caucasus region, and it will help both our regions achieve the clean energy transition,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding this weekend.

The Black Sea submarine cable will be 1195 km long, with 1100 km underwater with landfall in Romania in 2029. An 18 month feasibility study by CESI, an Italian consulting company, started in May.

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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, like the partners here around the table,” said von der Leyen.

“To integrate a growing share of renewables, we indeed need stronger electricity interconnections. And this is why the Black Sea electric cable between Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan is so important,” she added.

“The Black Sea electric cable is a new transmission route full of opportunities. This project could bring Georgia, a country with a European destiny, great benefits as well. It could transform the country into an electricity hub and integrate it in the EU internal electricity market. Finally, the Black Sea electric cable could also help bring electricity to our neighbours in Moldova and the Western Balkans, and of course to Ukraine.”

A digital data cable is also planned alongside the power cable.

“It would connect us on both sides of the Black Sea and run further towards the Caspian Sea region – both for digital communication and for energy. It will help reinforce our security of supply by bringing electricity from renewable sources to the European Union, via Romania and through Hungary,” she said.

The deal is a key opportunity for European suppliers such as Nexans of France and Prysmian of Italy. Prysmian notably announced in November it is building a new ship to lay submarine cables.

The €240 million vessel will be fully operational by Q1 2025 well ahead of the Black Sea project. This new vessel will be operating alongside four other cable-laying ships that will be working on Dominion Energy, the largest submarine cabling project ever secured by Prysmian in the US; the Neuconnect Energy Link project, the first power cable connection between the UK and Germany; and the Dolwin4 and Borwin4 projects, two offshore wind farm grid connection cable systems in Germany.

“The development of more efficient and sustainable power grids infrastructure is key to enable the energy transition, and submarine cables are an essential component. As global leader we are fully committed to technology innovation and we are happy to partner with worldwide leaders in the construction of vessels like Fincantieri and Vard to improve also our installation capabilities,” said Valerio Battista, CEO of the Prysmian Group.;

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