XLinks 3.6GW Interconnector with Morocco will take NSIP route to development consent

The government has confirmed that Xlinks, a planned interconnector between the GB electricity grid and Morocco, will be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project in seeking development consent, like most other large energy projects. It means the plans will be examined by National Infrastructure Planning and the decision on consent will lie with the secretary of state at DESNZ, rather than local planning authorities at Torridge in Devon.
The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project is being developed by Xlinks First as the principal developer. It will import renewable energy to Great Britain from a 11GW wind and solar project in Morocco, with battery storage alongside. The electricity will be transported through a dedicated 4,000km HVDC undersea transmission line that can deliver 3.6GW to GB.
Xlinks meanwhile has begun market engagement for the equipment required for the transmission line. The Project comprises four key elements: wind and solar generation and batteries in the Guelmim Oued Noun region in the south of Morocco; HVDC converter stations in Morocco and the UK; HVDC onshore transmission in Morocco and for 15km in the UK (where it will be undergrounded) along with twin HVDC to HVAC converter stations west of the existing National Grid substation located between Gammaton and Alverdiscott.; and submarine HVDC cable between the Moroccan and UK landing points. The submarine cabling will comprise two separate bi-poles, each with a 1.8GW connection to the GB grid. That requires four offshore HVDC cables, each 3,800km long, which will follow a shallow water route from the Moroccan site through Spanish, Portuguese and French waters.