The idea of the construction of a submarine cable in the Black Sea between Romania and Georgia to connect energy system of South Caucasus with that of continental Europe, has been presented several times by the Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu, but it finally begins to take its shape, at least on paper.
Namely, the operator of Georgian electricity transmission system GSE has recently launched a feasibility study for the interconnection project. GSE has obtained financing for the study from the World Bank and, following the tender, signed a contract worth 2.5 million euros with the Italian energy engineering company SECI. The feasibility study should be completed by the end of 2023.
The submarine cable project is included in the GSE’s latest 10-year Development Plan and could also be included in the similar Plan of Romania’s Transelectrica. According to Transelectrica, the Romania-Georgia submarine cable project was introduced in the category of projects that are not included in the Development Plan, but may be included depending on the confirmation of the completion of the necessary decision stages at the level of the interested parties. The same category includes the projects aimed at connecting the Tarnita pump-storage hydropower plant to the system, if it is finally decided to be built.
Also, the project was included in the development projections of the synchronous network of continental Europe prepared by the European Association of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). According to a preliminary estimate by GSE, the total amount of investment needed to build the submarine cable could exceed 2 billion euros, and it could be commissioned in seven years, by the end of 2029.
The submarine cable under the Black Sea, designed for 500 kV in double circuit, would have a total length of 1,100 kilometers and would connect the Anaklia substation in Georgia and Constanta Sud in Romania. The expected electricity transmission capacity will be 1,000 MW.
To realize the project, GSE will have to build a new 500 kV power station on land and a 95 kilometers long double-circuit line to connect it to the national electricity system.