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Matthew Wilcox, head of Tiverton professional services, outlines the proposals for the sub-sea cable connecting Morocco to the UK.
What is the purpose of the proposed Morocco to UK power cable?
Xlinks, a private renewable energy company, is aiming to build a HVDC (high voltage direct current) undersea interconnector which will carry renewable energy produced by a solar and wind farm in the Sahara to North Devon. The project plans to generate 11.5GW of electricity which would provide power to 7 million homes, delivering 8% of the UK’s energy demand.
In 2023, the UK Government recognised the scheme as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). However, the project is yet to obtain planning with Xlinks intending to apply to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero for a Development Consent Order.
What impact will this have on North Devon?
The offshore element will start from landfall at Cornborough Range with four HVDC onshore cables along a single corridor of approximately 14 km to the proposed converter station site near Alverdiscott.
The proposed route for the UK onshore element can be found via the Xlinks website and will result in land along the route being acquired in order to install these cables.
What can affected landowners do?
If Xlinks is granted a Development Consent Order (DCO), it will give them planning permission along with a range of consents and compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers. As a result, they may serve a compulsory purchase order on landowners to acquire land in order to deliver the project which is deemed to be in the public interest.
CLICK HERE for more information on what a CPO is, and the compensation landowners may be entitled to.