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Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity


by Vanessa Carter

Whilst sitting in quiet contemplation with a pen in hand, I reflected on the weeks past I spent under the blue skies of a far distant land of the African continent. A land full of colour and contrast, of twinkling eventide lights that added to the mysticism and brighter noonday sun that demanded attention. Morocco had turned my head and romanced me into its adventure.

Little did I know as I climbed the steps to board my flight from London, things would have quite such a dramatic and life-changing impact on me and in turn the choices and decisions I would need to consider about my future upon my return.

As a mature student, now having 55 years under my belt, I was fortunate to be given an opportunity on the Turing Scheme, the UK’s global programme for studying, working and living abroad, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for personal and professional development for students, I would be visiting a college in Tangiers in northern Morocco with a group composing of three Art students ( including myself ), three from the Health and Social Care Sectors and one from Engineering. Along with the tutors, there would be nine of us in total.

Before embarking on the trip, I was aware that the work I created as an artist and the work created at IFMEREE, the college in Morocco may well not align too smoothly due to the fact that they were primarily an engineering college. However, I was determined to engage and learn as much as possible whilst there and began some research before going. This prior groundwork became the solid springboard from which I, along with one of the other Art students, Jess Johnson engaged with the students from IFMEREE resulting in an astonishing outcome.

All Petroc H.E. pupils have been given the opportunity to participate in this excursion. Owing to the vision of the Head of H.E. Dr. Caroline Chipperfield, unexpected outcomes resulted from pioneering chances to combine students from a varied cross-section of Petroc. Although coming with cultural and linguistic differences, it soon became clear that a wide range of revolutionary discoveries could be developed and put to use.


Why IFMEREE, why Petroc and why renewable energy?

Clearly, climate change is impacting the planet at an alarming rate. Dependency on other countries for their depleting Fossil Fuels will eventually become problematic combined with fluctuating and variable wind energy within the U.K. means alternative sources of energy must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The Xlinks project is forging those links through an undersea pipeline to Morocco, bringing Solar Energy from its deserts along an undersea pipeline and making landfall in North Devon. This direct connection to the North Devon area brings a wealth of opportunity to regenerate the economy currently dependent on Tourism and Agriculture. Due to these limited opportunities and the rural locale of the region, often our young people leave to find greater career choices elsewhere thus depleting the workforce of fortuity and aspiration.

“The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project is a proposal to create 10.5 GW of renewable generation, 20 GWh of battery storage and a 3.6 GW high-voltage direct current interconnector to carry solar and wind-generated electricity from the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Kingdom. Morocco has far more consistent weather, and so should provide consistent solar power even in midwinter.

If built, the 3,800 km (2,400 miles) cable will be the longest undersea power cable by far, and would supply up to 7.5% of the UK’s electricity consumption.[5] The first phase of the project is expected to be operational in 2029, with the second phase due in 2031.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xlinks_Morocco%E2%80%93UK_Power_Project)

“The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will be a new electricity generation facility entirely powered by solar and wind energy combined with a battery storage facility. Located in Morocco’s renewable energy rich region of Guelmim Oued Noun, it will be connected exclusively to Great Britain via 4000 km (2485 miles) HVDC subsea cables.

This first of a kind project will generate 11.5GW of zero carbon electricity from the sun and wind to deliver 3.6GW of reliable energy for an average of 19+ hours a day. This is enough to provide low-cost, clean power to over 7 million British homes and once complete, the project will be capable of supplying 8 percent of Great Britain’s electricity needs.

Alongside the consistent output from its solar panels and wind turbines, an onsite 22.5GWh/5GW battery facility will provide sufficient storage to reliably deliver each and every day, a dedicated, near-constant source of flexible and predictable clean energy for Britain, designed to complement the renewable energy already generated across the UK.

When domestic renewable energy generation in the United Kingdom drops due to low winds and short periods of sun, the project will harvest the benefits of long hours of sun in Morocco alongside the consistency of its convection Trade Winds, to provide a firm but flexible source of zero-carbon electricity.” https://xlinks.co/morocco-uk-power-project/


Mission of the IFMEREE

The main mission of IFMEREE is to contribute, in a concrete way, to the success of the national energy strategy, by providing the renewable energy sector with the skills it needs for its development.

In this regard, IFMEREE must ensure:

  • Initial training courses for technicians specialised in renewable energy and energy efficiency professions
  • Continuing training and development sessions for the benefit of employees of companies in the sector
  • Participation in research work, laboratory tests, technical assistance, advice, etc.


13 March 2024


Sustainability, Students, Higher Education