Factory producing world’s longest subsea cables approved

Planners have given the green light to the construction of a factory producing cables for the world’s longest subsea cabling project.

North Ayrshire Council approved plans by manufacturer XLCC for the facility in Hunterston (Scotland), which will produce four 3,800km-long cables for a project called Xlinks. It will connect power systems in Morocco to the UK.

The infrastructure forms part of an initiative that aims to power seven million UK homes with Saharan solar and wind energy by 2030.

The factory will be built on the 51-hectare site of a former coal yard, which has been vacant since 2016, and will make use of its existing jetty and port for transport.

Construction intelligence provider Glenigan estimates the factory build to be worth £370m, while the overall power project is valued at £17bn.

Pick Everard has been acting as lead consultant on the project for XLCC.

The consultant’s director, Santosh Patel, said undersea cables of a “length not previously seen” would be created, with customers eventually benefitting from lower energy costs as a result of the project.

“Net zero requires huge expansion of solar and wind to be a success, and XLCC stands to help deliver in this respect,” he said.

Pick Everard has provided complete design services, as well as health and safety consultancy, BIM co-ordination and BREEAM assessments. According to a statement from the company, it expects to continue to act in a technical advisory capacity.

Construction on the new factory is expected to begin in early 2023. A contractor has not yet been announced.

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