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XLinks reaffirms UK is priority for Morocco power project

A solar installation in Morocco. The $20bn Xlinks Morocco-UK renewables project should be operational by 2030 CC BY-SA 2.0/Sambaphi
A solar installation in Morocco. The $20bn Xlinks Morocco-UK renewables project should be operational by 2030
  • Project to power 7 million homes
  • Cable link from Morocco to southern UK
  • Germany would be ‘in addition’ says Xlinks

British renewable power company Xlinks is “100 percent committed to the UK” despite reports suggesting it was refocusing its attention on Germany.

Xlinks is overseeing the $22 billion Morocco-UK renewables project, which involves building solar panel and wind farms in the desert of the North African country.

Via the installation of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables, coupled with large battery energy storage, power could be provided for seven million British homes.

A report in The Times newspaper claimed the London-headquartered company was considering Germany as an alternative to the UK, citing planning documents published by ENTSO-E, the European transmission systems operator.

However, a spokesperson for XLinks told AGBI that while they are investigating other markets, including Germany, the UK remains a “primary target and priority for the group”.

“It is not either or, but in addition to,” said the spokesperson.

“It was always our vision that this project would serve as a model for further links that support the transition to clean and sustainable energy. It is in this context that we are exploring the feasibility of additional routes with markets including Germany,” they added.

Xlinks previously said the project will create around 10,000 jobs in Morocco during its construction.

In total, it will supply the UK with 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity generated in the Guelmim Oued Noun region of Morocco via a 10.5 GW facility of solar and wind farms.

The power will be transported to the UK via a 3,800km HVDC cable running across the Atlantic Ocean.

The cable will come ashore in North Devon and be fed into Britain’s power network, where it will provide an estimated eight percent of the UK’s electricity needs with clean renewable energy. 

“We are actively exploring the potential for international projects to provide clean, affordable and secure power, alongside plans to boost our homegrown energy supply,” a spokesperson for the UK government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said. 

“The government remains interested in the Xlinks UK-Morocco project and is currently evaluating – without commitment – its viability and merits.”

In March last year Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) announced a AED113 million ($31 million) investment in the project as part of a fundraising round that saw a further $6.4 million committed by the UK’s Octopus Energy Group.

In November, TotalEnergies revealed that it had invested £20 million to acquire a minority stake in Xlinks.

The site of the Xlinks project experiences 3,500 hours of sunshine a year, compared to 1,500 annual hours in the UK.

The first phase is slated to go live in 2029, with the second phase due in 2031.

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