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Taqa invests $31m into Xlinks Morocco renewables project

Solar panels in a desert setting Pixabay/David Mark
The Xlinks' project wil provide a combination of solar and wind energy from Morocco to the UK
  • Project will bring renewable energy to UK via undersea cable
  • Taqa provided $31m of $37.4m total funding round
  • Deal follows Taqa’s $3.8bn decarbonisation project with Adnoc

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has given a substantial vote of confidence to the Xlinks’ Morocco-UK renewables project with its announcement of AED113 million ($31 million) in funding.

Taqa’s investment comprises the lion’s share in the successful closing of UK renewable power firm Xlinks’ new development funding round. It raised a total of $37.4 million after also securing $6.4 million of funding from the UK’s Octopus Energy Group.

The Xlinks project entails building the world’s longest high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea power cable between Morocco and the UK with the aim of supplying nearly eight percent of the UK’s electricity needs by 2030.

Jasim Husain Thabet, Taqa’s group CEO and managing director, said the investment shows that it is serious about helping to reduce emissions.

“We are already working on a large-scale HVDC subsea project in Abu Dhabi, and we own and operate one of the world’s largest solar PV [photovoltaic] plants,” he said.  

“This investment offers the chance to bring both our infrastructure and renewable power expertise to the table to benefit the UK and Morocco.”

Last September, Taqa entered into a $3.8 billion decarbonisation project with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) to reduce the carbon footprint of Adnoc’s offshore operations by more than 30 percent using a HVDC subsea transmission network.  

Taqa – the UAE’s largest power producer – is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange with a market capitalisation of $105bn. Its net income jumped 35 percent to AED8 billion in 2022 from AED6 billion in 2021.

“Taqa has expertise in procurement, project management and the technicalities of site design, all of which we will need in spades over the next few years,” Xlinks chief executive Simon Morrish told AGBI.

“Given its status as the largest electricity provider in Morocco, it can provide support in our interactions with the Moroccan government, too.”

Xlinks says the project will create around 10,000 jobs in Morocco during its construction. In total, Xlinks will supply the UK with 3.6gw of renewable electricity generated in the Guelmim Oued Noun region of Morocco via a 10.5gw facility of solar and wind farms.

Speaking to AGBI earlier this month, Morrish said more funding rounds are on the cards “sometime early next year” and that “hopefully we’ll get into financial close towards the end of 2024”.