UK-based startup Xlinks has unveiled its plans to lay a 3,800km subsea clean power link between Devon in the south of the UK and the renewable hub of Guelmim Oued Noun in Morocco, in a project that the firm says will provide ‘renewable energy that acts like baseload power’, and at its peak could provide up to 8% of the UK’s power needs by 2030.
According to the group, the new transmission line will allow Morocco’s abundant solar and wind power to be channelled to the UK, generating around 10.5GW of solar and wind-derived electricity and delivering 3.6GW of clean power for 20 or more hours a day. This amount is estimated by the group to be enough to power 7 million British homes by 2030 and, once completed, could supply as much as 8% of the country’s energy needs. In addition to the solar and wind farm, a battery storage system will be needed to ensure grid reliability.
The project (which has an estimated value of £16bn) has been touted as the ‘first of its kind’, and is intended as something of an answer to the question of how the UK can transition away from fossil when its own renewable sources cannot yet meet demand, as well as aligning with Morocco’s energy export strategy.
Xlink’s transmission link will reportedly use High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables to connect the countries, with converter stations on either end. The route will wind along the coasts of Portugal, Spain and France before connecting back to the UK using two 1.8GW connections at Alverdiscott in Devon. The group is apparently hoping to use the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference auction system to secure the project. This scheme has entered its fourth round and announced earlier this month that it will be looking to support a range of technologies under its £20m funding.