The world's longest subsea cable will send clean energy from Morocco
to the UK
September 27th, 2021
A 10.5 gigawatt (GW) solar and wind farm will be built in Morocco’s
Guelmim-Oued Noun region, and it will supply the UK with clean energy
via subsea cables. The twin 1.8 GW high voltage direct current (HVDC)
subsea cables will be the world’s longest.
UK-based renewables company Xlinks is
the project’s developer. The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project, as it’s
known, will cover an area of around 579 square miles (1,500 square
kilometers) in Morocco and will be connected exclusively to the UK via
2,361 miles (3,800 km) of HVDC subsea cables. They’ll follow the
shallow water route from Morocco to the UK, past Spain, Portugal, and
The project will cost $21.9 billion. Xlinks will construct 7 GW of
solar and 3.5 GW of wind, along with onsite 20GWh/5GW battery storage,
in Morocco. The transmission cable will consist of four cables. The
first cable will be active in early 2027, and the other three are
slated to launch in 2029. An agreement has been reached with the
National Grid for two 1.8GW connections at Alverdiscott in Devon.
Xlinks says that the Morocco-UK Power Project will be
capable of powering a whopping 7 million UK homes by 2030. Once
complete, the project will be capable of supplying 8% of Britain’s
Why go all the way to North Africa for power in the UK? In a word,
resilience. Xlinks explains:
Morocco benefits from ideal solar
and wind resources, required to develop renewable projects that
could guarantee suitable power production throughout the year. It
has the third highest Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) in North
Africa, which is 20% greater than Spain’s GHI and over twice that of
the UK. Furthermore, the shortest winter day still offers more than
10 hours of sunlight. This helps in providing production profiles
that address the needs of the UK power market, especially during
periods of low offshore wind production.
Remote generation and
interconnection between distant geographic regions with inversely
correlated weather systems will be more effective at addressing
imbalances of supply and demand over longer time periods.
Xlinks notes that solar panels generate about three times more power
in Morocco than they would in the UK. Further, solar panels in Morocco
will generate as much as five times more power from January to March
than those in the UK.
The project is expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs in Morocco, and
2,000 of those positions will be permanent.
Read more: Morocco
gets Africa’s first fully solar village
Bou-Jerif – Aroussi, Guelmim-Oued Noun, Marruecos” by Antonio
Marín Segovia is licensed under CC
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