A planned cable beneath the Caspian and Black Seas would open a new route for renewable power to the EU and help the bloc “turn its back” on Russian fossil fuels, said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The EU along with national leaders unveiled plans for the 1,200km, 1GW line connecting Azerbaijan and Georgia with Romania and on into Hungary.

The project – which still faces significant hurdles before becoming a reality and is not likely to see action this decade – could link the EU with areas with significant green power ambitions, including planned offshore wind development in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea.

Von der Leyen said the plan represents “a new transmission route full of opportunities” after the bloc “decided to turn our back on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify towards reliable energy partners”.

“The Black Sea electric cable could also help bring electricity to our neighbours in Moldova and the Western Balkans, and of course to Ukraine – it will help start rebuilding Ukraine's energy system and the reconstruction of the country,” she said.

The World Bank in a 2022 'roadmap' for Azerbaijan said the oil-rich nation could be flowing 7GW of power harnessed from Caspian Sea winds by 2040 with the “right long-term vision” by government and industry. Global renewables giant Masdar earlier this year signed an outline agreement over development in the region.

The Black Sea is also seen as a potential major source of future offshore wind power, with projects mooted off Romania and Turkey.