Xlinks has appointed engineering consultancy WSP to provide technical advisory services for its Morocco-UK solar link project, marking another step forward for plans the multi-billion pound development that could see solar power exported from North Africa to the UK.
WSP has become the latest partner for the ambitious Xlinks project, which aims to build an interconnector between giant solar farms in Morocco and the UK, with the potential to deliver 3.6GW of reliable and clean power to the UK.
Under the terms of the contract, WSP will provide technical advisory services for the tendering of contracts that are expected to be worth over £1bn to deliver four HVDC convertor stations and ancillary works for the project. The tenders would include UK grid connection works, connection to the generation assets in Morocco, and stations an interface between the converter and the HVDC cable systems in the UK and Morocco.
“The HVDC converter stations are a vital part of accomplishing the Morocco-UK Power Project,” said Martin Croucher, senior project manager for HVDC Convertors on the project. “We are delighted to have WSP on board as technical advisors to support the tender process.”
The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project is part of a multi-technology renewable energy project to deliver approximately 10.5GW of generation capacity at sites in Morocco, with a combination of solar and wind generation couple assetsd with energy storage, which will then be connected to The UK through dedicated 3,800km HVDC sub-sea cables boasting a combined capacity of 3.6GW.
The generation assets in Morocco will enable Xlinks to maximise the use of the subsea transmission system and deliver a dedicated, near-constant source of flexible and predictable clean energy to Britain for an average of over 20 hours a day. If the ambitious project is a success, Xlinks said it could meet up to eight per cent of Great Britain’s electricity needs.
“We’re delighted to support Xlinks on what is a truly significant opportunity for the UK to increase its use of renewable energy and move away from fossil fuel dependency,” said Ben Jones, non-regulated T&D construction director of energy at WSP. “A project of this magnitude will require a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach and we’re excited to play an important part in its delivery.”
The deal is the latest in a series of developments for the ambitious project. Earlier this year Octopus Energy Group became the latest backer for the project when it signed on as a financial and strategic partner of Xlinks.