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March 3, 2024

Abu Dhabi entity to invest $30.79mln to provide clean power to 7 million British homes

Abu Dhabi-based diversified utilities and energy group will invest Dh113 million (£25 million) in a renewables project that will supply 8 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs and power 7 million British homes in future.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has committed to Xlinks First Limited’s plans to lay the world’s longest high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables between the UK and Morocco, passing Portugal, Spain and France. Also, Octopus Energy Group, a global energy technology business, will invest Dh22 million (£5 million) in the Morocco-UK Power Project.

It will be the first-of-its-kind long-distance renewable energy generation, cross-border export project planned globally. Upon completion by 2030, the project will supply the UK with 3.6GW of renewable energy-sourced electricity.

Xlinks noted it has successfully closed an early development funding round raising £30 million, with major investment coming from TAQA.

“As a champion of low carbon power and water, TAQA’s investment in the Xlinks project shows that we are serious about helping reduce emissions whilst maintaining the security of energy supply that societies depend on,” Jasim Husain Thabet, TAQA’s group CEO and managing director, said.

“We are already working on a large-scale HVDC subsea project in Abu Dhabi, and we own and operate one of the world’s largest solar PV plants. This investment offers the chance to bring both our infrastructure and renewable power expertise to the table to benefit the UK and Morocco,” Thabet noted.

The UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has established a dedicated team to work with Xlinks to consider the merits of the project and understand how it could contribute to the UK’s energy security.

The electricity will be generated in the Guelmim Oued Noun region of Morocco by a 10.5GW facility of solar and wind farms, supported by 20GWh/5GW of battery storage. The facility will be connected to the UK power grid in Devon, South West England, via four 3,800km subsea HVDC cables, which will be manufactured in the UK.

Low-cost, clean power

Simon Morrish, CEO of Xlinks, underlined that the aim is to supply British households with secure, affordable, and green energy all year round.

“With this investment and support from our partners TAQA and Octopus, along with the support received from both the UK and Moroccan Governments, we take another step toward achieving that ambition. The huge potential of the Morocco – UK Power Project will help the UK accelerate its transition to clean sources of power, increase energy security and reduce consumer bills.”

This project will rely on the Moroccan renewable energy expertise while supporting its leading role globally in the fight against climate change and providing further value to its natural resources and reinforcing its renewable energy export strategy. The project will create around 10,000 jobs in Morocco during construction and lead to significant foreign direct investments in the country.

Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy Group, added: “This partnership between Xlinks, TAQA and Octopus enables us to drive forward one of the most visionary energy projects in the world. When people ask ‘how will you power heat pumps and electric cars when it’s not windy?’- this is a big part of the answer. This is a new global industry, and the UK and our partners can do it first, helping cement Britain as a leader in the transition to low-cost renewable energy – bringing down bills, powering industry and creating green jobs both in the UK and Morocco.”