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Thursday, 27 April 2023

UAE’s Taqa and UK’s Octopus Energy invest GBP 30 mn in Xlinks’ Morocco-UK interconnection project

Xlinks secures funds for Morocco–UK interconnection project: UK-based renewables developer Xlinks has secured GBP 25 mn in funding from The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and GBP 5 mn from UK-based energy supplier and renewables investor Octopus Energy for its Morocco–UK Power Project, according to a company statement. The interconnection project was initially estimated to cost GBP 18 bn.

Where’s the money going? Xlinks will lay 3.8k km high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cable to eventually transport 3.6 GW of renewable energy — nearly 8% of the the UK’s current requirements — from a 10.5 GW solar and wind farm in Morocco’s Guelmim-Oued Noun region to Britain’s power grid in Devon, the statement said. The renewable plant will be supported by a 5 GW battery storage facility.

When will the project be operational? The project should be fully operational at its complete 10.5 GW capacity in 2030. Securing funding for the project has seen much delay, raising the question of whether the company will stick to the initial timeline set last year.

Xlinks held its second public consultation for the subsea interconnector last week: The company launched its second round of consultations as it looks to secure building permits to lay underground, high-voltage, direct-current cabling as well as an alternating current converter station in Devon, UK. This set of consultations is set to wrap up on 31 May.

Morocco has other interconnection projects in the pipeline: Spain signed 19 MoUs with Morocco last February including some in renewables as it prepares to develop a third interconnection line with a capacity to transport 700 MW of electricity, set to be operational in 2026. Morocco currently exports renewable energy to Spain and Portugal through two operational electricity interconnection links with a combined generation capacity of 1.4 GW.

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