Bridging Continents: Discussing the Morocco-UK Power Project on CNN
Updated: Sep 6
British renewable energy company Xlinks has launched a project to generate electricity through solar farms and wind parks in Morocco and send it to the UK via an 3,800km undersea powerline.
The project, which is the first of its kind, will generate 10.5 gigawatts of carbon-free electricity, with seven gigawatts generated by sunlight and 3.5 gigawatts of wind. It will also include 5 gigawatts (20 GWh) of battery storage to ensure near-continuous powerflow across continents.
The electricity will be transmitted via two separate undersea cable systems to the UK, where it will be enough to provide low-cost, clean energy for more than seven million British homes.
Zest's Managing Director Jeffrey Beyer recently appeared on CNN to discuss the project and share his thoughts on its potential impact. He explained that the proposed project is revolutionary not only because it represents the longest undersea electricity cable ever laid, but also because it may signal a new era in intercontinental electricity transmission.
"Electricity interconnection is a critical part of a future carbon-free electricity system," said Beyer. "Joining electricity markets together unlocks a lower cost total energy systems, helps grid operators balance supply and demand, and capitalizes on different weather conditions and renewable resource intensities in places that are far apart."
International interconnection is especially relevant when powerlines run latitudinally, Beyer said. "This lets powerful noontime sun in one location electrify dawn and dusk geographies to the east and west, where power demand is high but solar powered supply is waxing or waning respectively." These challenging electricity supply 'shoulders' are addressed by east-west transmission lines.
The Xlinks project is not without it s challenges, however. The undersea cables will be the longest ever built, and the project will require a significant investment, with total cost estimates at over $21 billion. But the project will help to reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels and will create jobs in both Morocco and the UK. It is an opportunity for Morocco to earn foreign exchange revenues through direct power exports, and will also help to improve the UK's energy security , as it will reduce the country's dependence on imported fossil energy.