The company XLCC has made the sketch public and it is expected to come into operation in 2025 via a wind and solar farm built in Morocco

Reino Unido anuncia el diseño del barco que colocará el cable que le unirá con Marruecos

PHOTO/ARCHIVE - Transatlantic submarine cable

The United Kingdom and Morocco continue to make progress in the construction of the cable that will link the two countries electrically. The British shipbuilding firm XLCC has just announced to the press the design of the new ship for this project. The ship will be responsible for transporting and laying the cable on the seabed so that the two nations can start supplying each other with electricity. 

"Our ship will be, upon delivery, the most sophisticated, efficient and environmentally friendly cable ship in the world. With this capacity, we will be able to meet the growing global demand for the deployment of HVDC - high voltage direct current - cables. The latter are used to transport electricity over long distances," Alan Mathers, head of XLCC, said in a statement.

The ship is a specialised vehicle for laying, lifting and maintaining these future submarine cables. It will be responsible for laying the four lines and is expected to be operational for the project by 2025.

This design has been created in collaboration with Sal Ship Design, another brand dedicated to ship and vessel design. XLCC has already started the development of the vessel and is currently working on the selection of a suitable shipyard to begin construction. The tendering procedure, which is already in the early stages of development, is also underway.

"We are delighted to be part of this exciting project, which will bring more renewable energy to the world. The design is at an advanced stage and we continue to develop the project to refine the details," commented Salt Ship Design's commercial director Tor Henning Vestbøstad.

By the third quarter of 2022, XLCC has also said that a site will be selected to lay the cables to begin feeding power to the two countries. In total, each of these wires covers a total distance of 3,800 kilometres. 

Xlinks, a British company, is in charge of the overall project. The British firm has also announced that, in order to realise this plan, it is preparing to build two renewable energy plants in Morocco. These are a solar plant and a wind power plant, which have already received authorisation from the Moroccan government, as well as the reservation of the land on which they will be built. 

Nasser Bourita, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Marruecos, y James Cleverly, ministro británico para Oriente Medio y Norte de África de la Oficina de Relaciones Exteriores

Morocco has promised to provide the British company with 150,000 hectares of land for the construction of the solarium, which will incorporate a 5GW battery to store the energy produced.

These two projects will be capable of generating 10.5 GW of electricity that is totally clean and free of carbon and harmful gases. From the sun and wind, 3.6 GW of energy will be provided almost 24 hours a day. In turn, this is expected to provide electricity to more than seven million homes in the British Isles by 2030 and meet the country's energy needs by 8%.

"It is a new power generation facility powered entirely by solar and wind energy, combined with a battery storage facility. Located in Morocco's renewable energy-rich Guelmim-Oued Noud region, it will occupy an area of approximately 1,500 km2 and will be connected exclusively to Britain via 3,800 km of HVDC submarine cables," Xlinks representatives commented on the ship's announcement. 

The news of progress on the project comes at a time when the UK has announced that it will be switching away from Russian oil and looking for alternatives. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the British Isles have halted imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia, and many media report that Morocco is in the country's sights. Renewable energy is one of the UK's main interests in seeking a new energy partnership to put an end to the electricity problem.

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