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Morocco, UK explore 3,800km cable link renewable energy interconnector

Updated: Apr 24

24 April 2024

Morocco, a North African economic giant, has formed a team to explore the viability of Xlinks, a 3,800km cable between Morocco and the UK. The UK Government has made recent progress towards embracing the proposed Xlinks renewable energy interconnector with Morocco, which was confirmed by the UK energy minister, Graham Stuart.

The cable, stretching 3,800 kilometres from Morocco to the UK, has the potential to transmit sufficient electricity to power over seven million British households.

The project is a large-scale onshore wind, solar and battery electricity generation site in Morocco that could supply power to Great Britain’s grid via subsea cables. Heather Wheeler, the Conservative MP for South Derbyshire, posed a written question to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net-Zero regarding the project’s progress. In response, energy minister Stuart established that the UK government had established a dedicated team within the department to consider the viability and merits of the proposal without making any commitments.

The team will assess how the Xlinks project could contribute to the UK’s energy security. According to the Powering Up Britain – Energy Security Plan, published recently, the UK Government is “exploring the potential for international projects to provide clean, affordable and secure power; and is interested in the Xlinks project, a proposed large scale onshore wind, solar and battery electricity generation site in Morocco that could supply power to the GB grid via subsea cables”.

Morocco is upswing in electricity and energy production in Africa. In 2021 the North African country’s electricity production came from coal (37.08 percent), hydroelectricity (16.14 percent), fuel oil (7.67 percent), natural gas (17.72 percent), wind (13.37 percent), solar (7.58 percent).

Citizens of the country also enjoy stable electricity prices, against Europe, where electricity bills are constantly rising.

The World Bank in 2019 said developing countries, especially Nigeria, can learn a lot from Morocco in electricity production for its citizens. The global lender said Morocco has reached almost 100 percent rural electrification and is also a leading performer in implementing a renewable energy strategy.

Nigeria’s situation appears to be a direct opposite of the Moroccan scenario, data show. The African top economy is oil rich, but electricity poor. It has the African continent’s and world’s largest population with no access to electricity. Several reports put more than 77 million Nigerians severely without access to electricity.

With only 4,000 MW of electricity produced by the country, a report said the energy crisis is forcing 43 million Nigerian households into spending N8.9 trillion annually to self-generate their electricity needs.

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