FAQ

GENERATING

Morocco is a forerunner In the development of large scale and innovative projects. It has also a very attractive investment environment, in particular in the energy area.

Also, Morocco is blessed with excellent and consistent solar and onshore wind resources thanks to its consistent daylight hours, high solar intensity, and wind speed. It has the third highest Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) in North Africa. It is 20% greater than Spain (highest GHI in EU) and more than twice that of the UK. It also has high solar intensity (34% solar load vs 11% in UK) and wind speed (52% wind load vs 31% average in UK).

The Project is expected to be located in a site that is approximately 1,500 km2 in size – an area that covers over 200,000 football pitches – located in the Guelmim Oued Noun region in the south of Morocco.

The Moroccan leadership holds a consistent and ambitious vision for the country to become an international leader in renewable energy. It is advancing against its national renewables strategy, both by progressing towards national renewable energy targets, and building its position as the international hub for price competitive and carbon-free energy.

Xlinks project will benefit from all the experience, expertise and competitiveness of the Moroccan renewable energy ecosystem.

The construction of the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will create nearly 10,000 local jobs, of which 2,000 will become permanent. At least 40 per cent of generation installation will be manufactured in Morocco and we will work with local partners to increase this where possible.

Furthermore, Xlinks has adopted an inclusive approach toward local population, and will ensure, thanks the local development programs, that such populations will fully benefit from the Project’s socio-economic positive impacts.

The UK has had strong relations with Morocco for over 800 years. The total annual trade between the two countries was £1.5 billion in the four quarters to end of Q4 2020.  In June 2021, the UK agreed a partnership agreement affirming post-Brexit continuity of trade and exchange. Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project is a way to strategically build on this relationship and highlight how the UK can collaborate in its net zero energy mission with partners across the world.

Xlinks is well advanced in securing land rental options for an area that is approximately 1,500 km2 in size in the Guelmim Oued-Noun region of Morocco, blessed with high solar intensity and wind speed, to generate 10.5 GWp capacity of wind and solar energy.

Energy transfer from Morocco to the UK will rely on four 3 800 km HVDC cables. HVDC is a proven technology used in several international projects

The security of the site is the highest priority of Xlinks. The commitment to international safety and security standards of the Moroccan government, , and its internationally recognised legal frameworks, are not in question.

CONNECTING

The HVDC interconnectors used in Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will use proven technologies, similar to the interconnectors used in existing international connections – e.g. the NEMO interconnector, which connects UK and Belgium. Just as with existing UK interconnector projects, the Xlinks interconnector will be laid by a specially adapted cable laying vessel.

Safety and security standards will be similar to interconnector projects operated by others such as National Grid.

We will work with the fishing industry to minimise impact to them, and will bury the cable, to protect it from any accidental damage caused by fishing / anchoring. We will also avoid conservation areas wherever possible. Environmental impacts are therefore considered very low.

National Grid ESO takes its responsibility to balance supply and demand seriously. However, a diverse mix of reliable, affordable, and green power is key to keeping Britain running in the coming years as our energy system, transport and homes become increasingly electrified. Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will be an important contributor to a well-balanced grid.

Most of the route will be buried under the seabed in water depths of 100-250m, but the maximum depth is currently planned to be around 700m. The cable will travel on land from the generation site in the Guelmim Oued Noun region of Morocco and enter the sea north west of the city of Tantan, Morocco. It will then follow the Moroccan coastline up the strait of Gibraltar and make its way up the coast of Portugal, Spain and France before going around the isles of Scilly. The cable will then cross through UK territorial waters before landing in Devon.

TRANSMITTING

Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will use proven solar, wind and subsea cable technology to power the transition to net zero. The near-constant generation of solar and wind power, enough to provide low-cost, clean power to over 7 million British homes by 2030, will supply 8% of Britain’s electricity needs. The construction of this project will reduce bills from the govt’s current future forecasts as we will be able to supply the UK below those forecast prices.

Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project requires no subsidy. To enable us to raise the private financing we need, Xlinks just needs the security a UK policy commitment to a predictable but unsubsidised price that a CfD would provide.

Agreement has been reached with National Grid for two 1.8GW connections.

The interconnector will come on shore in Devon, where a converter station will connect the clean power to Britain’s energy grid. Xlinks worked closely with National Grid to choose this location as it will enable connection at the earliest possible date and the lowest cost, and so helping to provide low-cost, green energy for consumers.

The connection agreement with National Grid allows Xlinks to start transmitting through the first 1.8GW system by 2027. The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) says the UK needs a net-zero electricity network by 2035 to be on track for a net-zero economy by 2050.

CREATING

To manufacture the required HVDC interconnector cable, Xlinks will create an export-led cable manufacturing industry in Britain, via a dedicated cable supply system company called XLCC, who will provide approximately 1,350 new, permanent regional jobs by 2024. Agreements for factories to be located in Hunterston and Port Talbot have been signed with planning permission applications underway. Discussions are also taking place for a third factory in the North East.

The supply chain for Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will create thousands of regional, green jobs and launch a high growth HVDC cable industry and supply chain in the UK creating 1,350 new, permanent UK manufacturing jobs by 2024.

Investment in Britain’s new HVDC cable industry will also fuel a supply chain ecosystem including steel manufacturing, local fabrication, factory construction and fit outs, shipbuilding for a cable laying vessel and support services for factories.

The project will also bring jobs to Morocco through the production of locally manufactured components as well as a significant amount of local civil engineering works. There will also be the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs during construction, of which 2,000 will become permanent and it is expected that the remaining jobs will roll onto future projects once this project is complete.