French energy giant TotalEnergies has acquired a minority stake in the UK-Morocco subsea interconnector project Xlinks via a £20 million investment.
TotalEnergies joins fellow investors Octopus Energy and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) who acquired stakes in April 2023.
Xlinks is developing a subsea megaproject aiming to connect the UK to a 10.5GW facility of solar and wind farms in Morocco. The site will also include 5GW/20GWh of battery energy storage.
The electricity generated from the site – which is to be located in Morocco’s Guelmim Oued Noun region – is to be exported to Britain via four 3,800km high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables.
The magnitude of this development saw the UK government deem the project a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) back in October.
Vincent Stoquart, senior vice-president of renewables at TotalEnergies, said: “We are delighted to join the Xlinks project and its other investors to support the development of such a pioneering and ambitious endeavor. This innovative project will benefit from our track record in developing large and complex integrated energy projects.”
The Xlinks project is expected to cost in the region of £18 billion and, upon completion in 2030, will have an export potential of 3.6GW – around 8% of the UK’s electricity needs.
Simon Morrish, CEO of Xlinks, said: “We are excited to welcome Europe’s largest energy company to be a part of our ambitious vision to foster long distance power exchanges through this iconic partnership with the UK and Morocco.
“TotalEnergies’ investment goes far beyond capital, providing a rare combination of expertise in areas that meet the unique challenges we face. This marks a highly successful end to 2023 and will give us an even greater impetus to achieve our goals as we enter 2024.”
In 2021, Current± caught up with Xlinks’ CEO Simon Morrish to discuss how the project is an “overwhelmingly compelling solution” to the UK’s need for baseload power.