The United Kingdom has officially designated a strategic initiative to establish an underwater power cable for transmitting renewable energy sourced from Morocco as a project of utmost national importance. This recognition is anticipated to streamline the process by alleviating potential planning challenges.
Xlinks, under the leadership of former Tesco (TSCO.L) CEO Dave Lewis, is poised to construct an extensive 3,800-kilometer (approximately 2,361.21 miles) network of subsea cables to deliver solar and wind-generated energy from the Sahara to power up to 7 million residences in the United Kingdom by the year 2030. While Xlinks welcomed the government’s acknowledgment of their project as a significant milestone, it is important to acknowledge that numerous hurdles and complexities still lie ahead.
In addition to the monumental task of constructing the world’s lengthiest high-voltage direct current subsea cable, Xlinks faces the imperative challenges of securing additional funding, establishing enduring pricing agreements, and obtaining the necessary approvals to traverse Spanish and French maritime territories. These multifaceted factors underscore the intricate nature of the project’s successful realization.
According to Dave Lewis, the estimated cost for this ambitious endeavor falls within the range of £20 billion ($24.47 billion) to £22 billion. Additionally, Xlinks has indicated that this project has the potential to generate approximately 10,000 job opportunities in Morocco, with 2,000 of these positions expected to become permanent. Moreover, this initiative aligns seamlessly with Morocco’s strategic vision for energy exportation.
In a statement, Claire Coutinho, the newly appointed UK Energy Security and Net Zero Minister, emphasized the project’s national significance due to its potential to facilitate Britain’s transition away from fossil fuels.
The statement underscored the potential significance of the proposed project in contributing to the realization of an energy system aligned with the UK’s commitment to carbon emissions reduction. Furthermore, it highlighted how the project aligns with the government’s objectives of ensuring a secure, dependable, and cost-effective energy supply for consumers.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approach to achieving Britain’s net-zero emissions target has faced significant scrutiny. This scrutiny intensified following the relaxation of targets regarding the ban on new petrol cars and allegations of inadequate subsidies being offered to domestic offshore wind farm developers by the government.