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Huge UK-Sahara solar and wind project delayed

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

​A huge undersea cable project due to link the UK and Sahara has been delayed because of ongoing political turmoil.


The Xlinks project is due to generate 20 hours a day of renewable, reliable energy every day by capturing wind and solar energy from the Sahara. With £18 billion of investment, the UK will receive the energy via vast subsea cables measuring 3,800 km in length.


But ongoing political uncertainty in Westminster has put the project behind.


Once in operation, Xlinks could provide 8pc of the UK's total energy supplies, and power up to 7 million homes by the end of the decade. The original plan was to build the project to begin delivery in 2027, but the target date is looking increasingly unrealistic due to unwanted delays by the government.


Former CEO of Tesco, Sir Dave Lewis, who is now the Xlinks executive chair, has warned that the conveyor belt of prime ministers - three in under six months - has resulted in delays to the CfD mechanism.


Contract for Difference schemes use public subsidies to encourage clean energy investment by offering fixed power prices. Xlinks worked with Kwasi Kwartent to get the project to a point where it needed to be reviewed by the Treasury, but after gaining provisional approval, the final sign-off was paused.


He explained the frustration for the company, which is ready to begin the vastly ambitious project that will help the UK to achieve its net zero ambitions, boost the country's energy security or supply and cut consumer bills. But so far, the project has been delayed by a year.


He also explained that the project could prove to be more reliable than domestic schemes which have struggled to match demand and supply. Ministers have declined to comment.