Almost a year after Sir Dave Lewis, the Executive Chairman of the Xlinks Project, complained that progress on the Xlinks project was stalling due to turbulence in UK politics, it seems to have picked up stream in recent days.
On September 28, Claire Coutinho, the UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, confirmed that proposals by Xlinks, a UK-headquartered green energy startup, now qualify as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project,’ the Financial Times reports.
The mega project aims to connect 3.6GW of low-cost, reliable, renewable power from southern Morocco to the Great British electricity grid using a 3,800-kilometer submarine cable. The cable is expected to transmit electricity for an average of 20 hours a day.
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, or NSIPs, are major infrastructure projects that require development consent to be granted by the relevant Secretary of State through a Development Consent Order.
The new status will fast-track the planning process for the project, whose proponents say will supply enough green energy to power 7 million homes, or 8% of Britain’s power needs.
Xlink’s Executive, Sir Dave Lewis, considers the news a ‘major milestone’ for the project. According to Lewis, the special designation ‘provides certainty and clarity over the legal process and timescales for consenting to the project.’
Lewis recalled that the costs for the entire project are now estimated at between £20 billion and £22 billion, stating that Xlinks could execute the project with ‘no government subsidy or handout.