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Constant cheap renewable power to Britain – the Sahara wind and solar cables

Within five years, the world’s longest undersea cable will link Devon to
a vast territory of solar panels in the Sahara Desert, supplying
electricity directly into Britain’s grid at a fraction of today’s power
prices. A second cable will land two years later in 2029.

Together they will provide 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of constant baseload power, equivalent to
two Hinkley-sized nuclear reactors. The difference is that we will be able
to afford it.

That, at least, is the plan. The £16bn Xlinks Morocco-UK
Power Project – chaired by former Tesco chief Sir Dave Lewis – has an
elegant feature. It combines wind and solar in perfect geographic
circumstances to make near-constant power for 20 hours a day.

Trade winds on the coast of North Africa raise the average “capacity factor” of
onshore wind turbines to 54pc. A desert convection effect creates a regular
wind current in the early evenings and smooths the handover from solar to
wind. “It picks up every afternoon just as the sun is setting,” said
Simon Morrish, the project’s chief executive.

This overcomes the curse of intermittency, with lithium batteries in the desert to cover the remaining
gaps. Xlinks will be a park of 580 square miles at Guelmim Oued Noun on the
28th parallel south of Agadir, picked because it is at the top of the
global horizontal irradiance index. The yield is three times higher than in
the UK. The sun shines for 10 hours a day in winter. “The space is
unlimited. We could in theory put up 500 of these projects in Morocco,”
he said. The consortium is already planning a second hub to power Benelux.
It could multiply the scale several times over for the UK, constrained only
by the safe limits of energy security.

 Telegraph 20th April 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/04/20/sahara-solar-could-soon-rescue-britains-broken-energy-system/

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April 21, 2022 - Posted by | renewable, UK

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