In the latest round of funding, the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project secured approximately US$ 37.36M. The funds came from British utility Octopus Energy and the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA). The former contributed US$ 31.18M while the latter provided the rest (US$ 6.23M).
According to Greg Jackson, the partnership between Xlinks, TAQA, and Octopus is crucial. “This,” he said “is because it enables us to drive forward one of the most visionary energy projects in the world.”
Greg is the founder and CEO of Octopus which began investing in the project in May 2022.
The Xlinks solar & wind power project in Morocco will be developed near Tan-tan in the region of Guelmim-Oued Noun in the southwestern region of the country. It will be made up of 7 GW of solar capacity (larger than the 1.65 GWp Benban complex in Egypt) and 3.5 GW of wind. In total, the power plants will produce 10.5 GW of electricity.
The energy produced will be stored in a 25 gigawatt-hour battery storage system before being evacuated to the UK through a 3,800 km undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line. Both the storage system and the transmission line will be constructed as part of the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project.
The line, which comprises four separate cables, will be the longest of its kind in the world. It will cross international waters and dip into the territorial waters of European countries such as Portugal, Spain, and France on four occasions.
Losses along the line are estimated between 10 and 12%, but these are justified, according to Morrish, by a very low LCOE for the solar and wind power plants in Morocco.
Xlinks, a UK company is developing the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project.
Project name: Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project
Type: Integrated power generation, storage, and transmission
Energy Source: Sun and Wind
Cable length: 3,800km
Land Allocated For Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project in Morocco
A piece of land with a total area of 150,000 hectares has been allocated in the Guelmim-Oued Noun area for the implementation of the Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project in Morocco, which will produce a total of 10.5 GW of electricity (7 GW from solar and 3.5 GW from wind).
According to a report on public lands cleared for investment in 2022, “the allocated space corresponds to the realization needs of the project spearheaded by Xlinks”, a UK company looking to address the three key challenges associated with the transition to a low carbon economy; securing low-cost power, from sustainable sources whilst maintaining a reliable electricity network.
Also Raed: US$11m guarantee for Maroua and Guider Solar Power Plants, Morocco
Along with the solar and wind farms, the project also includes the construction of a 25 gigawatt-hour battery storage system and a 3,800 kilometers undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line.
The longest subsea power transmission link in the world
According to the project developer, the transmission line comprising four separate cables will be the longest subsea power transmission link in the world.
It will cross international waters and dip into the territorial waters of European countries such as Portugal, Spain, and France on four occasions. Losses along the line are estimated between 10 and 12%, but these are justified, according to Morrish, by a very low LCOE for the solar and wind power plants in Morocco.
Xinks expects to bring online the first 1.8 GW cable at the beginning of 2027 and a second cable two years later.
Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project in Morocco to deliver 26 TWh of firm and flexible power to the UK each year
When fully completed the approximately US$ 25M Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project in Morocco will deliver 26 TWh of firm and flexible power to the United Kingdom (UK) each year, the equivalent of 7.5% of the northwestern European country’s electricity demand, and significantly contribute to net-zero targets.
Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project’s pipelaying ship construction underway
The design and construction of the ship that is expected to lay the cables during the implementation of the Xlinks Solar & Wind Power Project are ongoing. Alan Mathers, head of UK cable producer XLCC, said in a statement that their ship will be the most advanced, efficient, and environmentally friendly cable ship in the world at the time of delivery.
He also stated that they will be able to fulfill the growing global demand for the deployment of high voltage, direct current tension cables to address present and future needs in the market.
The XLCC team has begun developing the ship’s basic design in partnership with Salt Ship Design, while also looking for a suitable shipyard to build it. The bidding process for the latter has already started as well.
Tor Henning Vestbostad, Commercial Director of Salt Ship Design, stated that they were thrilled to be a part of the initiative that will provide more renewable energy to the world. He also added that the design is nearing completion, and they are continuing to improve the specifics.
Plans approved for Xlinks subsea cable manufacturing plant in Hunterston, Scotland
Plans are underway for an Xlinks Morocco-UK Power projects’ subsea cable manufacturing plant in Hunterston. The plant will reportedly make the longest subsea cables in the world that will be used to transport clean energy from Morocco to the UK. The infrastructure is a component of a $1.7 billion project that will supply electricity to seven million UK homes by 2030.
The project’s primary consultant is Pick Everard, who was chosen by XLCC, a maker of high-voltage, direct-current subsea cables. As part of the Xlinks project, the new facility will construct four 3,800 km long cables. They will connect solar and wind energy from the Sahara to the UK. The factory will be located close to the site of the former nuclear power plant in Hunterston.
The 90,000-ton undersea cable will go through shallow waters from Morocco to the UK. It will pass via France, Spain, Portugal, and Spain before arriving near Alverdiscott in north Devon. In addition to onsite 20GWh/5GW battery storage, Xlinks will build 7 GW of solar and 3.5 GW of wind in Morocco.
The subsea cable manufacturing plant in Hunterston, Scotland
“We’re pleased and proud to be involved in building a new high-tech green business for the UK. Thus it will be supporting the drive towards net zero,” said Santosh Patel, director of Pick Everard.
“Consumers will benefit from a substantially cheaper unit cost for their energy. This is once the project for the subsea cable manufacturing plant in Hunterston is fully implemented. This is because underwater cables will be manufactured to lengths never before seen. For net zero to be successful, there needs to be a significant increase in solar and wind power. Thus, XLCC can contribute to this.
The Hunterston manufacturing facility of XLCC will supply the expanding HVDC power transmission market in the UK. Pick Everard has offered full design services, health and safety consulting, BIM coordination, and BREEAM evaluations in addition to serving as a principal consultant.
The new factory’s construction is anticipated to start in early 2023. Thus, the company is now only expected to act in a technical advisory capacity. WSP has been hired by Xlinks in the interim to support the £1 billion procurement process for converter stations in the UK and Morocco. This is in addition to UK grid connection works, and connectivity to the generation assets in Morocco.