A 2500 mile long cable could bring solar power from Morocco to UK

The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will be a new electricity generation facility entirely powered by solar and wind energy combined with a battery storage facility. Located in Morocco’s renewable energy rich region of Guelmim Oued Noun, it will cover an approximate area of 1,500km2 and will be connected exclusively to Great Britain via 3,800km HVDC sub-sea cables.

This “first of a kind” project will generate 10.5GW of zero carbon electricity from the sun and wind to deliver 3.6GW of reliable energy for an average of 20+ hours a day. This is enough to provide low-cost, clean power to over 7 million British homes by 2030. Once complete, the project will be capable of supplying 8 percent of Great Britain’s electricity needs.

Alongside the consistent output from its solar panels and wind turbines, an onsite 20GWh/5GW battery facility provide sufficient storage to reliably deliver each and every day, a dedicated, near-constant source of flexible and predictable clean energy for Britain, designed to complement the renewable energy already generated across the UK.

When domestic renewable energy generation in the United Kingdom drops due to low winds and short periods of sun, the project will harvest the benefits of long hours of sun in Morocco alongside the consistency of its convection Trade Winds, to provide a firm but flexible source of zero-carbon electricity.

The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will provide “renewable energy that acts like baseload power”.

Four cables, each 3,800km long form the twin 1.8GW HVDC subsea cable systems that will follow the shallow water route from the Moroccan site to a grid location in Great Britain, passing Spain, Portugal, and France.

Agreement has been reached with National Grid for two 1.8GW connections at Alverdiscott in Devon. Voltage source convertor stations will enable the Xlinks project to secure high value balancing contracts with National Grid, and a HVDC Technical Feasibility study has been completed to validate reliability and cost.

The transmission system will use High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables to send the power from Morocco to Britain. HVDC technology is now well tried and tested as reliable and more cost competitive for a large volume of electron transfer across longer distances, than the High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) technology typically used for transmission systems within countries.

Converter stations will be used to change the HVAC power at the generation site in Morocco to HVDC, which is then sent through the subsea cable with very low losses before another converter station in Britain changes the HVDC power back to HVAC, ready to be injected into the British transmission network. While the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project subsea cable is significantly longer than existing interconnectors, the HVDC technology is the same proven technology used for connecting Britain and other European countries, or the technology proposed for the interconnector between Morocco and Portugal.

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