The effort will be privately financed but developers are seeking a funding deal under which they would be guaranteed £48 per megawatt hour for their electricity over the first 25 years – but would have to pay the Government any increase in the wholesale prices above that.
The mechanism is widely used in the power industry, and Xlinks says they would be a net contributor to the Exchequor under current price forecasts.
Sir Dave ran Tesco for six years until September 2020, turning around its fortunes following a major accounting scandal before he joined. He hasn’t had any major positions since, but also serves as chair of the board of the nature charity WWF.
Britain already imports about 9pc of its power through cables connected to the continent, and many more are planned to help export and import electricity to balance intermittent wind and solar resources.
Unlike other projects, however, Xlinks would not be connected to Morocco’s grid, meaning it can only send power to Britain, not receive it as well.