Black Sea Transmission Cable Project Georgia as Transcaucasia Electricity Hub
The Black Sea Bed High-Voltage Transmission Cable as New Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Project.
A new important and promising project has been proposed for the Georgian energy system – the construction of a high-voltage transmission cable line on the Black Sea bed. This initiative was recently discussed at the EU Association Council meeting, where a special focus was made on strengthening global energy security.
Project of tomorrow – this is how Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava has called this initiative. The 1,200-kilometer underwater cable will connect Georgia’s and Europe’s electricity grids. The World Bank (WB) has already provided its consent to fully fund feasibility studies. Georgia has already prepared a primary study in terms of the project’s feasibility. Expectedly, the cable will be stretched to Romania, because this country owns due infrastructure on the Black Sea coastline. The cable will connect the electricity grids of Georgia and Romania.
According to the existing technical studies, the 500-kilowatt network will have a 1,000-megawatt transmission capacity. The Black Sea bed cable project is an estimated EUR 2 billion.
The joint project was registered at the European Energy Union by the Georgian Electro system and Romanian company.
At this stage, this ambitious initiative seems to be an unachievable goal, however, in due time, even the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project seemed much more unrealistic. Therefore, why not?
Thus, it is interesting to analyze the opportunities that this new project can provide for the Georgian economy and Georgian energy sector, as well.
Establishing a new consortium is the key precondition for implementing this very expensive project. This consortium will involve interested governments, international financial institutions, and major energy corporations; accumulate financial resources from various geographical and institutional sources. All these factors will provide additional guarantees for the successful implementation of this project.
Naturally, the 500-kW cable with 1,000-megawatt transmission capacity will enable Georgia to connect the region’s electricity grids with Europe and the reverse. As a result, the country will make a huge breakthrough in terms of energy independence and security.
Let’s analyze – This cable will enable the whole region to exchange electricity with Europe’s electricity grid. This line, based on the existing infrastructure (the 500-kw and 300-kw transmission lines between Georgia and Azerbaijan and the almost finished 330-kw line) will provide a huge opportunity for Azerbaijan in the project’s initial phase, because this country has been trying over the past years to export its own electricity resources, including the power generated by the existing and coming steam power stations and electricity resources to be generated by wind power stations in the future.
This is a crucial project to export Georgia-generated electricity to the European Union market and to generate additional incomes for Georgia. Our electricity grid will be directly connected with Europe’s entire electricity network that, besides energy and economic factors, will also acquire weighty political significance.
As an additional benefit, this line will also comprise optical fiber cable to arrange additional direct telecommunication/internet channels in southeastern Europe and South Caucasus/Central Asia.
After the project implementation, Georgia will become the Transcaucasia electricity hub. This project will ensure Georgia’s economic independence. Specialists and analysts working on Georgia’s energy development issues have also approved the project. Namely, Giorgi Abramishvili, executive director of the Renewable Energy Development Association asserts that this project will be one of the most important initiatives over the past decade.
The Black Sea bed high-voltage transmission line will minimize Georgia’s energy dependence on Russia, he said.
“If the country needs to import electricity, this cable will provide best options and not only from our neighboring countries. Another very important aspect is that soon we will valuably use renewable energy potential and export excessive energy to foreign markets. In this case, Georgia will have a guaranteed export market in Europe. These expectations are based on the growing demand for green energy in Europe and this is an irreversible process. Naturally, this transmission line will also acquire the transit function and engage in an exchange of energy resources with EU. Georgia will receive huge benefits from this direction too. At the same time, the analysis shows that Georgia’s new power stations and this transmission line will be launched simultaneously and probably, the cable will have no additional capacities to serve electricity transits too. This will be the best prospects for Georgia”, Giorgi Abramishvili said.
Professor David Mirtskhulava, Doctor of Technical Sciences and president of the National Association of Big Cascades also stressed the positive aspects of this project.
The new high-voltage transmission cable on the Black Sea bed will provide new opportunities for Georgia and the whole region. The EU energy market will be first interested in Georgia’s renewable energy potential, he said.
“This project will provide a new opportunity for the whole region, including for Georgia. The so-called 2-hour exchange with Europe will also bring essential benefits. When our peak passes away, the peak starts in Europe and this factor should be employed valuably. We can also use Europe’s night cheap resources and so on. Furthermore, I believe that this project can be also expanded to the East, namely to the Caspian Sea bed transmission line to involve Central Asia countries into the united grid. Namely, the new line will connect Azerbaijan with the energy system of Kazakhstan. Employment of hourly exchanges will be also very important”, Mirtskhulava noted.
Today, the technology for arranging analogical high-voltage underwater networks has cheapened several times, he said.
“Considering its presumable prime cost, this project will be implemented definitely. This transmission network must have the 1,000-megawatt exchange capacity and this project will integrate Georgia into the EU energy system”, David Mirtskhulava noted.