Events, Innovation, News

World’s Longest Maritime Electric Cable to Bring Sahara Renewable Energy to the UK

A grandiose new project of huge importance for Great Britain and Morocco, but also at a global level through the technological premiere it brings, has been approved by the British government as a project of national strategic importance, a fact that guarantees its implementation by bypassing the procedures of local approvals and lengthy bureaucratic procedures that such a project would normally have to go through. The new project, developed by Xlinks, is called the Morroco-UK Power Project and will ensure the production of renewable energy in the Sahara and its transport to the UK through direct sea cables, thus bringing the energy benefits of a sunny area to the world for the first time. a rainy area, devoid of them.

Those at Xlinks have a global vision at the planet’s level for such ideas and want to reach a stage where strong cables would interconnect the entire planet. Around the equator, there would be enormous solar energy production parks everywhere. The sun never sets on the whole planet at once, and so always about half the planet would be producing energy from solar sources, delivering it for everyone’s benefit. If we reach such an interconnected system on the whole planet, with large reserves of power to ensure the coverage of any intermittency of weather and seasons, then we would not even need large batteries for the country-wide storage of renewable energy because we simply give the surplus to others at noon, so that later we can take it back from others when we need it.

It sounds like a brilliant idea, which can only work when the whole planet is united in such initiatives. Until that could materialize, Xlinks tried to convince the British and Moroccan governments to develop and implement a first such phase of the project that would actually work and bring huge benefits to both countries. Morocco has transformed in recent years from a large importer of electricity to a country that exports more and more thanks to its huge mirror-based solar plants, which are in permanent expansion. Since the Xlinks project envisages the construction of new renewable energy production capacities in Morocco, employing thousands of people, and the delivery of this renewable energy to Great Britain, helping the latter to cover their electricity demand for the transition to electric cars and in general to a CO2 neutral economy, the project was approved by both governments. And now, from the approval of the idea in principle, it has been classified as a national strategic project, allowing it to go directly to quick and final approvals and to design, construction and implementation with clear terms.

Thus, the project involves the construction of solar and wind energy production capacities in the Guelmim-Oued Noun region of Morocco, with an enormous installed power of 10 5 GW in total! For comparison, the most powerful nuclear reactor in Europe, Olkiluoto 3 , inaugurated in April of this year in Finland, has 1.6 GW of power. So 10.5 GW is 6.5 times more!

But, of course, there are intermittences in solar and wind energy, so the final yield is lower. However, the concept of the new project assumes that it will also have batteries that will add up to 20 GWh of storage capacity, with a power of 5 GW delivered to the network only from the batteries, which means that at maximum power, they can still provide 4 hours of electricity, even during the late evening or night. Solar energy will be produced based on photovoltaic panels that will follow the sun’s angle throughout the day for a higher yield.

The two sources of renewable energy, solar and wind, in the Sahara, including the battery plant next door, will be spread over 1,500 square km of desert and will provide Great Britain with an average power of 3.6 GW, on average, for a duration of 20 hours per day. In practice, no energy will be supplied only at night to morning, when consumption is minimal. It will be supplied practically constantly during the day and in the evening, thanks to the existing batteries and the possibility to cover the evening peaks. A basic calculation shows us that 3.6 GW of power over the average 20 hours per day means 72 GWh of electricity delivered daily to Morocco from the UK. At the level of one year, that. It means 26.28 TWh of electricity, more than half of the annual consumption of Romania and 6 times more than the annual consumption of Moldova.

This project alone will provide Great Britain with 8% of the electricity it will need in 2030, with all the expected increases from electric cars. With all the maritime cables laid, the project will become fully functional in 2029. And the cables will have a distance of 3,800 km, from Morocco’s west coast to Great Britain, passing by Portugal, Spain and France, thus forming the longest maritime electric cable in the world! The cable group will consist of 4 units, routed separately for redundancy.

The authors of the project say that solar panels generate three times more electricity in Morocco during 24 hours than they would in Great Britain due to the angle of incidence of the sun and sunnier days. From January to March, the same panels produce 5 times more in Morocco than in the UK; therefore, generating electricity where it is more productive and transporting it to other regions increases the yield of renewable energy production.

For Morocco, this project will mean 10 thousand jobs during the construction phase, then 2 thousand permanent jobs, and an enormous volume of exported energy. The cost of the project is estimated at 20 billion pounds.

Back to list

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *