Back to Blogs

Plan to export Saharan solar to Britain

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author: Steve Walia

​An ambitious new project will provide millions of British homes with solar energy generated in the Sahara, by 2030.


The project is set to revive the former site of the Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland, which closed earlier this year with the loss of 500 skilled jobs in an area of high deprivation. Now, the new XLCC factory will be working to create four new vast subsea cables that will span the UK coastline to a desert strip in central Morocco. The cables will eventually power seven million UK homes with clean energy and provide up to 8pc of Britain's total electricity needs by 2030. The project will use solar energy from the Saharan sun and provide 900 jobs to the region.


The project director, Richard Hardy, said that most people are staggered by the scale of the project, but explained that it made sense, with HVDC technologies now well established and with low transmission losses of only 2 per cent. This means that the advanced cables can transport electricity over huge distances with far greater efficiency than most AC systems which lose up to 30% of energy and which the average UK energy grid operates on.


These systems also help to address the ongoing supply issue of renewables. Wind farms overproduce in high winds and underproduce when it's still. The idea will be that the UK can access clean energy anytime by connecting its grid to countries with varying weather patterns, such as the consistent high sun. The HVDC approach will also offer customers the lowest possible prices and help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, particularly where situations of global turbulence might apply. With the UK's ongoing investment in domestic renewable projects, this blended approach could be the best of all worlds for UK customers.