10.5 GW Solar, Wind and Storage Project in Morocco

Highlights :

  • British company Xlinks is developing a 10.5 GW solar-plus-wind project, combined with a battery storage facility, in Morocco’s Guelmim Oued Noun region.
  • Of the generated amount, 3.6 GW renewable energy will be supplied to the UK via the world’s longest subsea cables
10.5 GW Solar, Wind and Storage Project in Morocco

British company Xlinks is developing a 10.5 GW solar-plus-wind project, combined with a battery storage facility, in Morocco, which will supply 3.6 GW renewable energy to the UK via the world’s longest subsea cables.

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. The wind farm will utilise the reliable Trade Winds in the region, which are driven by the temperature differential between the Atlantic Ocean and African continent. The windspeed at the generation site increases throughout the late afternoon and evening, ensuring power can be delivered to Britain during times of peak demand.

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

Alongside its solar panels and wind turbines, an onsite 20GWh/5GW battery facility will 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.

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.

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.

Agreement has been reached with National Grid for two 1.8 GW 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.

Morocco benefits from ideal solar and wind resources, required to develop renewable projects that could guarantee suitable power production throughout the year. It has the third highest Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) in North Africa, which is 20% greater than Spain’s GHI and over twice that of the UK. Furthermore, the shortest winter day still offers more than 10 hours of sunlight. This helps in providing production profiles that address the needs of the UK power market, especially during periods of low offshore wind production.

“Xlinks is also consistent with the country’s energy export strategy, which is why it is at the heart of this project,” claims the company.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.