Executive Chairman of the Xlinks Project Sir Dave Lewis said that talks with the UK government on the Morocco-UK energy cable project are 'frustratingly slow.'
In an interview with British newspaper The Times, Lewis warned that unless UK ministers commit to bringing the project to life, the energy from Morocco's solar and wind farms could end up elsewhere.
According to The Times report, Xlinks says it could finish the project by 2030 should the government deliver a guarantee in 2023 that consumers will pay a fixed price of £48 per megawatt-hour for the power delivered.
'The critical thing for us is getting a timetable from the government so that we can plan the project around it,' Lewis said, adding that 'there'll come a point, which is, if the UK government can't decide, as a business we'll have to think about what alternatives there are, because there's an awful lot of interest in providing this energy to other countries.'
As Europe ramps up its efforts to replace Russian gas, the executive's statement implies that the energy company already has interest offers from other countries on the continent.'It doesn't need a rocket scientist to understand why everybody is interested in a more resilient green energy source.'
Lewis further told The Times that his company has been in talks with British authorities for a year. The British treasury 'had been enthusiastic' in early 2022, prior to the political turmoil following Boris Johnson's resignation, which particularly affected the energy sector.
'Given what's been happening in the politics of leadership elections and changes, the last few months have been frustratingly slow,' Lewis insisted.
Lewis explained the impact of the political turbulence on the progress of the Xlinks project, saying that 'everybody [in government] that we spent the year bringing up to speed with the project and engaging with has changed jobs.'
'You have to go back and start the briefings again . . . We're not asking for any government money here, this will be privately funded. All we need to know is: does the UK want to be a customer for this energy?' Lewis questioned.
In a statement reported by The Times, a government spokesperson responded to Lewis' declaration saying that the British government has been 'Anything but slow.'
'The UK government has increased the amount of renewable energy capacity connected to the grid by 500% since 2010,' the spokesperson said. 'We continue to support more renewable projects and are in early-stage discussions with Xlinks about their proposal.'