Europe to be supplied with green energy through the Black Sea: Why should Armenia be part of the project?

July 21, 2023  15:34

In December 2022, the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary signed a memorandum of cooperation on the project to export "green electricity" from the South Caucasus to the European Union through a cable planned to be laid under the Black Sea. Armenia also participated in the initial negotiations, but the country is not among the signatories of the memorandum.

APRI Armenia Senior Researcher Benyamin Poghosyan believes that it is more than logical to include Armenia in this project, as the country has the technical ability to produce and export large volumes of electricity, including green and renewable, and there is also great interest in this project.

Technical capabilities of Armenia and the region

During an online discussion organized by APRI Armenia, dedicated to the prospects of this project and the benefits it can bring to the three countries of the South Caucasus and the member states of the European Union, Benyamin Poghosyan noted that today Armenia can produce and export to Georgia up to 1.3 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour. However, a new infrastructure is also being built in the country, which will make it possible to export up to 3 billion kilowatts per hour already in 2026. This electricity from Georgia can already be re-exported to other countries, including the EU.

He also reminded that steps are being taken in Armenia to develop renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

Kanan Jafarov, business development manager at B.B. Energy (former USSR and Eastern European countries), in his turn noted that the three countries of the region – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia –  are located on the same land and share the same resources, so it would be more correct to consider the potential and opportunities of the entire region rather than each individual country.

According to him, Armenia has many water resources, as well as great potential in the field of geothermal energy, and Azerbaijan has many winds and opportunities in the field of wind energy. Georgia also has great potential in the field of green energy. In general, the region can indeed produce green electricity and export it to Europe.

Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and stability in the region

Representatives of APRI Armenia are confident that cooperation in the field of renewable energy has great potential. it can help the EU and its member states strengthen the Eastern Partnership and contribute to the project's "green agenda". For the countries of the South Caucasus, this project can develop the potential of renewable energy sources, open economic prospects and bring some stability to this unstable region. However, according to the representatives of the organization, all these opportunities will be realized only if Armenia returns to the project.

Kanan Jafarov is also confident that cooperation in the energy sector can contribute to the establishment of peace in the South Caucasus region. He does not see serious obstacles for Armenia's participation in this project, although Azerbaijan will most likely react negatively to it at this stage. On the other hand, three more countries participate in the project: Georgia, Romania and Hungary, with which Armenia has good relations. If the EU countries are really interested in it, they can help Armenia and Azerbaijan to start cooperating on some economic projects, especially within the framework of this program.

Georgia's former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Finance Valery Chechelashvili believes that without the consent of the full participant of the project, Azerbaijan, it will be difficult to reconstruct it and include Armenia. However, in his opinion, the situation can change if the relations between the countries improve, a peace treaty is signed, demarcation/delimitation is carried out and communications are opened. In his opinion, it is also important that the RA government clearly and unambiguously shows its interest in participating in this project.

Benyamin Poghosyan is sure that before returning this project to Armenia, it is not necessary to wait for the improvement of the relations between the two countries. In his opinion, the implementation of such joint economic programs can contribute to the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and become a tool that can improve the relations between the two countries and the situation in the region in general. 

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