Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson believes that Xlinks, the world’s longest undersea cable connecting Morocco’s solar energy grid to Britain’s and passing across French, Portuguese, and Spanish waters, would provide “real value” for the North African country.
Xlinks, led by former Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, plans to install 3.800 kilometers of subsea cables by 2030 to provide solar and wind energy from the Moroccan Sahara to seven million British households.
Octopus Energy announced a £5 million ($6.8 million) investment in the Xlinks or “Morocco-UK Power Project” in May, followed by a further £35 million from Abu Dhabi National Energy Company.
CEO Jackson explained that there were two main reasons why his company is backing the project, according to Al-Monitor media.
“One is, I think long-distance interconnectors are the future. They’re going to be as normal as internet connections sooner or later. The second thing is we like the shape of the power that we’ll generate, so very helpful to have essentially 365 days a year, totally predictable, that we can then use to translate to charge electric vehicles and run heat pumps in the winter,” explained Jackson.
However, there is doubt about the project because there are numerous obstacles to overcome, according to the same media that interviewed the CEO on the margins of the energy intelligence event in London.
According to Xlinks, it will cost between £20 billion and £22 billion, a large sum that will necessitate much more money. Xlinks must also be granted a license to operate in French and Spanish waters.
Furthermore, Morocco is becoming a water-scarce country as a result of the terrible drought and lack of precipitation, and a large amount of water will be required to clean the project.
Xlinks says that no one lives on the land that would be used for the project and that it is working on water desalination measures that will result in a net excess of water in the area.
Asked whether there were any concerns about water scarcity in Morocco when maintaining the project, Jackson said, “If you want to stop stuff, you can always look for an issue, but I think Morocco is going to suffer a lot more from climate change if we don’t build projects like this. It’s an export industry that will generate real value for Morocco.”