The investment subsidiary of former US engineering behemoth General Electric confirmed today its purchase of a $10.2 million stake in Xlinks, the £16 billion Essex-based venture seeking to bring Moroccan solar and wind power to Britain.

Currently headquartered in Billericay, Xlinks intends by 2029 to be importing into north Devon the first renewable energy from solar and wind farms in southern Morocco.

Once completed, Xlinks’ clean generation combined with battery storage is expected to supply 3.6GW of affordable, reliable power, meeting approximately 8% of Britain’s current electricity needs.

Its generation and batteries will be connected exclusively to Britain via twin 3,800km HVDC sub-sea cables.  Scotland’s government last year pledged £9 million to re-purpose Hunterston B, the defunct Ayrshire nuclear power station, as a factory making the cables.

Working to its mission “The Energy to Change the World”, Massachusetts-based GE Vernova Financial Services is GE’s recently formed investment division for energy projects.

It joins Octopus Energy as well as Octopus founder Greg Jackson, as investors in Xlinks. Other stakes include £25 million from Abu Dhabi’s national utilities managers TAQA, and participation by TotalEnergies.

GE Vernova was set up in 2022, following General Electric  announcing the previous November its intention to split into three publicly traded companies. The following year, GE named them as GE Vernova, GE HealthCare and GE Aerospace.

It has deployed what it calls “sizeable capital” into projects worldwide through development financing, direct equity investments, and capital raising from private & public financial institutions.

Scenarios constructed by Britain’s independent Climate Change Committee see UK electricity demand as potentially doubling by 2050, to 600 terawatt-hours. Against that background Britain’s government has acknowledged Xlinks’ potential.  D-ESNZ are developing an outline business case.

James Humfrey, CEO of Xlinks First, the megaproject’s financing arm, said: “Bringing in an investor of the calibre of GE Vernova represents a further strategic step in the Morocco–to-UK power project’s development, as we progress the project across several fronts.

“Xlinks is committed to meeting the UK’s need for reliable, affordable, zero-carbon energy while maximising the socio-economic benefits of the project in Morocco.”

For GE Vernova Financial Services, CEO Nomi Ahmad answered: “We are pleased to be part of the Morocco – UK Power Project, as collaboration across the energy sector is key to ensuring that more affordable, renewable energy is delivered to help meet the UK’s electrification demands and help the nation meet its net zero goals.”

INTEREST DECLARED: The author was educated close to Billericay.


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