TotalEnergies is paying £20 million to buy a minority stake in Xlinks First, which aims to develop renewable energy in Morocco and export it to the UK.
The French company did not disclose how much equity it was acquiring for its payment.
“We are delighted to join the Xlinks project and its other investors to support the development of such a pioneering and ambitious endeavour,” said vice president of renewables at Total, Vincent Stoquart.
“This innovative project will benefit from our track record in developing large and complex integrated energy projects.”
Octopus Energy and Abu Dhabi’s TAQA bought into Xlinks in April 2023. TAQA paid £25mn and Octopus £5mn.
Xlinks CEO Simon Morrish welcomed Total to the project. The company had an “ambitious vision to foster long distance power exchanges through this iconic partnership with the UK and Morocco. TotalEnergies’ investment goes far beyond capital, providing a rare combination of expertise in areas that meet the unique challenges we face. This marks a highly successful end to 2023 and will give us an even greater impetus to achieve our goals as we enter 2024.”
Making a difference
Xlinks will generate 11.5 GW of solar and wind power in Morocco, combining this with 22.5 GWh of battery storage. Using this in tandem will provide reliable exports to the UK via 3,800 km HVDC subsea cables.
The company has said it would provide 3.6 GW, for an average of more than 19 hours per day. The project could meet 8% of Great Britain’s electricity needs, it said.
In September this year, the UK government recognised the Xlinks plan as one of “national significance”. The project would increase energy security, according to documents.
A number of challenges loom for Xlinks. The company must secure substantial sums of funding. It also plans to create its own supply chains, building out HVDC manufacturing capacity in the UK. In return from the government, Xlinks seeks access to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, to hedge project exposure.