Four leaders sign agreement to bring green Azeri energy to Europe | Popgen Tech
- Part of EU efforts to diversify away from Russia
- Project will strengthen security of supply – von der Leyen
- EU Commission earmarked EUR 2.3 billion for project – Hungary
BUCHAREST, Dec 17 (Reuters) – The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary signed an agreement on Saturday to build an electric cable running under the Black Sea to transport green Azeri energy from planned Caspian Sea wind farms to to transport Europe.
The deal involves a 1,100 km (685 mile), 1,000 MW cable running from Azerbaijan to Romania as part of larger efforts by the European Union to diversify energy sources away from Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the European Commission had earmarked 2.3 billion euros ($2.4 billion) to support the construction of the cable, which would be the longest of its kind in the world, and Azerbaijan invites investors to build the turbines.
He said a feasibility study would be completed by the end of 2023 on the cable project, which would then take three to four years to build.
At the same meeting, Azerbaijan also said it plans to slightly increase its exports of natural gas to Europe next year as Brussels seeks to replace declining energy supplies from Russia.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis told the meeting: “Given the current security context characterized by the military aggression against Ukraine, we need to cooperate better and show more solidarity to mitigate common challenges.
“Our energy cooperation … will improve our energy resilience and ensure diversification of supply and transport routes,” Iohannis told the meeting, also attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen said the EU’s strategy of turning its back on Russian fossil fuels and diversifying to what she called “reliable energy partners” was working. She said the EU is ready to provide financial support to the project pending the results of the feasibility study.
“In order to integrate a growing share of renewable energy, we indeed need stronger electricity interconnections. This is why the Black Sea energy cable between Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan is so important,” said von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen said the Black Sea cable could turn Georgia into an electricity hub and integrate it into the EU’s internal power market, while it could also help start rebuilding Ukraine’s energy system and aid the country’s reconstruction.
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Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Luiza Ilie; Editing by Angus MacSwan and David Holmes
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