Black Sea subsea link to connect Azerbaijan’s offshore wind farms with Romania, Hungary

On 17 December, the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, and Hungary entered into an agreement under which the four countries committed to bringing forward a subsea link in the Black Sea that will, among other things, transfer electricity from future offshore wind farms in Azerbaijan’s part of the Caspian Sea.

Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Agreement on a strategic partnership in the field of green energy development and transmission, was signed by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Romania Nicolae Chuke, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, in the attendance of President of Romania Klaus Iohannis and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

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The connection, running from Azerbaijan to Georgia and then under the Black Sea to Romania and further on to Hungary, will transfer renewable energy between the countries and help reach energy security in the EU and avoid reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

According to a press release from the Office of the Hungarian Prime Minister, the subsea power cable transmitting electricity generated in Azerbaijan, primarily from wind and solar energy, will be 1,195 kilometres long and its capacity will reach 1,000 MW.

The project will now enter a feasibility study stage, which should be completed next year, and the subsea link in the Black Sea, which is said to cost the EU €2.3 billion, is planned to be commissioned in 2026.

Earlier this year, Azerbaijan released its Offshore Wind Roadmap, in cooperation with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which states the country has the potential to install 7 GW of offshore wind power by 2040 with the right long-term vision, infrastructure development, investment.

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The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, now emphasised: “Azerbaijan’s renewable energy potential is more than 27 gigawatts of wind and solar power onshore and 157 gigawatts of wind power in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Together with one of our country’s strategic investors, we plan to implement 3 gigawatts of wind and one gigawatts of solar power by 2027, 80 percent of which will be exported. By 2037, we plan to create an additional capacity of at least 6 gigawatts”.

According to the World Bank and ESMAP, of the 157 GW of offshore wind potential in Azerbaijan, 35 GW is suitable for fixed-bottom projects and 122 GW for floating wind.

President Aliyev further noted that one global energy company alone is planning to invest in 10 GW of green energy in Azerbaijan.

Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi-based energy investor Masdar signed an agreement with the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan this summer to cooperate on up to 10 GW of clean energy projects – including offshore wind-to-hydrogen projects with a total of 2 GW in capacity.

“Two days ago, the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan signed a framework agreement with another global energy company. This company is planning to invest in the creation of up to 12 gigawatts of wind and solar energy in Azerbaijan. So, at least 3 gigawatts of additional transmission capacity should be created for the first phase of Azerbaijani export”, President Aliyev said on 17 December.