Rabat will provide electricity to London in exchange for recognition of Western Sahara


At the end of September, Simon Morrish, the founder and CEO of British energy company Xlinks, announced the project on the BBC.Investment contract £22 billion to install solar and wind power plants In the area of ​​1,500 square kilometers in the Guelmim-Rio Noun area, 10.5 GW, combined with battery storage facilities.

The energy stored in the power park will be transmitted to England (Devon) and Wales (Pembroke) via a DC transmission line, which has four independent submarine high-voltage cables, each with a length of 3,800 kilometers. It will become the longest submarine cable in the world.

Xlinks hopes to start laying cables in 2025. The first 1.8 GW will be put into operation in early 2027, and the second cable will be launched two years later.

Through this large-scale project, the UK intends to diversify its energy structure.It will be able to provide low-carbon electricity Seven million British households And meet 8% of the country’s needs by the end of this decade.

“Our Morocco-UK project will provide renewable energy as base load electricity. By taking advantage of Morocco’s long-term sunshine and strong winds, it will provide the UK with a reliable source of carbon-free electricity by the end of this decade,” he said in his tweet. Explained on the special page Xlinks.

According to its own introduction, Xlinks’ goal is to “provide sustainable energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from the Sahara Desert to the UK.”It specifies that it is “Clean, affordable and reliable energy to achieve zero net carbon emissions in the country.”

The service includes state-of-the-art storage and subsea transmission. To this end, Xlinks will create an export-oriented cable manufacturing industry in the UK, through a company called XLCC to manufacture the required HVDC cables.According to the British company’s data, this will provide 1,350 new permanent regional jobs by 2024; also There are 10,000 jobs in Morocco.

The cable will travel through Portugal, Spain and France

Simon Morish said in an interview with Moroccan Digital Media 24 that they have completed all preliminary assessments and “the results are very satisfactory.” In fact, he announced that they have begun “detailed research and design on production and design.” Energy transmission. At the same time, they are committed to obtaining the necessary authorization for the production, wiring and distribution of coastal cables.

Three different routes were considered, and the route that did not pass through the territorial waters had to descend to 3000 meters. For this reason, the shallowest route is preferred and will not reach 700 meters. In this way, The cable will cross international waters He will dive into the territorial waters of Portugal, Spain and France four times. So they are processing approval requests.

The idea of ​​transmitting energy is not new, but with the sharp drop in the price of solar photovoltaic energy and the increasing use of HVDC (high voltage direct current) cables to transmit electricity over long distances, it has now developed. In China, these types of keys have been built for more than 3,000 kilometers. According to the government contract, Xlinks will provide £48 per MWh.

In addition, the price of electricity and natural gas in the UK soared last winter.

The route the cable will take.


Morris confirmed that Britain chose Morocco because “it is a world leader and pioneer in the development of large-scale projects, and has created an attractive environment for renewable energy investment over the years.” In addition, he assured that “the Moroccan industry is also very competitive and has the experience required for such projects.”

Morocco and Western Sahara

After signing the project with Morocco in Western Sahara, as well as a post-Brexit joint agreement affecting agriculture, fisheries and natural resources, the United Kingdom officially announced its recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over this non-autonomous region. The territory awaits decolonization, as the United States did in Donald Trump’s presidential decree before leaving the White House on December 10.

The UK has “actually” done something with companies operating in Western Sahara. However, Morocco claims to be official.

In fact, in an interview with EL ESPAÑOL, Thomas Reilly, the former ambassador to Rabat, explained: “The UK recognizes Morocco’s serious and credible efforts. This is a very sensitive matter. Will need to be negotiated within the UN frameworkAnd, of course, we welcome these first steps and the round tables that the Special Envoy managed to establish. The United Kingdom, like all parties involved, must work hard for this. I don’t want to prejudge the result. “

The fact is that, due to its economic interests with Rabat, the United Kingdom is the closest country outside the Arab world and the African continent to Morocco’s recognition of the sovereignty of Western Sahara.Must be added on the cable El Estrecho tunnel project, From northern Morocco to Gibraltar.

“There is a huge trade opportunity, especially at the renewable energy level between Morocco and Gibraltar. It is great to see the power line between the two. My prime minister (Boris Johnson) is a big fan of the bridge, and this is A symbolic bridge. The union of several towns,” Riley clarified.

Development of Saharan natural resources

The post-Brexit union agreement is the same as when they were part of the European Union. In this way, the natural resources of Western Sahara continue to be developed, mainly the export of sardines (60% of UK consumption comes from Maghreb countries).

“Leave politics aside, I think it’s important that people live there, who have the right to access water, education, economic opportunities, and political stability. If a British company provides them with fresh water, so it allows them to have better access Healthcare, no matter who is in charge of Western Sahara politics, this is beneficial. Therefore, when we talk about development, this is a basic human right in Western Sahara, and they are happy to be a British company that can guarantee this right,” Riley defended Say.

In addition to the commercial agreement, they also agreed on three legal instruments, including Mutual agreement for the entry of all Western Sahara products into the UK marketIn this way, Saharan fisheries, agriculture and phosphates (three-quarters of the known reserves on the earth) entered the British market under the same conditions as the Moroccans.

Also in Western Sahara, British company Sound Energy chose Moroccan company Afriquia Gaz as its official partner for the distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company belongs to Aziz Akhanouch and is currently entrusted by King Mohammed VI to form a government. It is his party that won the election. , National Reorganization of Independents (RNI). The company signed a contract to build a LNG plant with ENEL, another Italian company dedicated to the production, distribution and sales of electricity and natural gas. Enel Green Power has accompanied Morocco in its energy transition process.


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