Solar power imports from Morocco could ‘cut energy bills’, says developer
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A British energy firm has struck a deal with the company building the world’s largest subsea power cable to deliver clean electricity from Morocco to the UK, in a move it says will bring down energy costs.
Octopus Energy Group yesterday announced a financial and strategic partnership with developer Xlinks, which plans to lay four 3,800km-long HVDC subsea cables to connect a huge solar farm in the Moroccan desert with Devon in south-west England.
Neither company has disclosed the financial details of the deal, but they say the plan will supply 3.6GW of reliable, clean power to the UK for an average of 20 hours a day, enough green energy to power about seven million heat pumps all year round.
Simon Morrish, chief executive of Xlinks, said the partnership presented “an enormous opportunity to bring down energy bills significantly and help the UK achieve net zero”.
However, it will be a number of years before impacts will be seen. The project is still in the development phase, with Xlinks currently carrying out economic, environmental and archaeological impact assessments. The project is scheduled to become operational in 2027. Once up and running, Xlinks says it will deliver power at £48/MWh, making it competitive with new offshore wind farms in UK waters.
The UK government is currently working on strengthening the country's energy supply routes as outlined in its Energy Security Strategy, lowering its dependence on Russian gas imports and aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, energy bills for household rose by more than 50 per cent to close to £2,000 in April, with experts predicting another sharp increase in October.
Greg Jackson, founder of Octopus Energy Group, said: “Going green will cut energy costs for Britain. Freeing ourselves from volatile fossil fuels was already important to help combat climate change, but it’s now clear we need to do this for affordability and security.
“Layering different sources of green energy helps answer the question ‘What do we do when the wind’s not blowing?’. This project is magic because it’s all proven technology - on a huge and ambitious scale. The renewables revolution has not just begun, it’s now accelerating at an unprecedented pace for the good of people and the planet.”
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