Australia to fast-track world’s largest solar-battery project with grid link to Singapore

Australia’s federal government has announced that it will fast-track an ambitious A$22bn ($16bn) 10GW/30GWh solar/battery project that will send 24-hour renewable electricity to Singapore via a 4,500km cable.

The Morrison Government is helping fast-track Australia’s largest renewable energy infrastructure project which aims to power the Northern Territory and Southeast Asia – injecting billions into economy and creating thousands of Australian jobs.

Major Project Status has been granted to Sun Cable’s proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) – which would be one of the world’s largest dispatchable renewable electricity systems, supported by the world’s largest battery & solar farm in the Barkly region near Tennant Creek.

The AAPL will integrate three technology groups – the world’s largest battery, the world’s largest solar farm, and a 4,500km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system from the solar / storage facility to Darwin, Singapore and eventually Indonesia.

It will provide dispatchable renewable electricity to the Northern Territory and will supply up to 20% of Singapore’s electricity demand.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project would create 1,500 Australian jobs during construction, 350 ongoing jobs in Australia, as well as indirectly supporting around 12,000 Australian jobs. It will also see the production of a new solar farm manufacturing facility. “This project draws on Australia’s world-class solar technology and our high-tech manufacturing capability to export renewable energy on an unprecedented scale,” Minister Andrews said. “Not only will this power link make Australia a world-leader, it will also create significant economic and employment opportunities here at home with about $8 billion of the $22 billion investment to be injected directly into Australia. “It’s a strong statement to all Australians that despite the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic we will come out the other side stronger and industry is still investing in opportunities that will drive our economic recovery and create much needed jobs.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said projects like this will help maintain Australia’s long-standing position as an energy exporting powerhouse. “Australia has long been a world leader in energy exports”, Minister Taylor said. “As technologies change, we can capitalise on our strengths in renewables to continue to lead the world in energy exports.”

Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said, “Sun Cable is delighted that the AAPL has been granted Major Project Status. It is a significant milestone for the AAPL, which will see Australia become a world leader in renewable electricity trade, generating approximately $2 billion worth of exports for Australia annually. “This project is helping to grow a new industry, utilising intercontinental HVDC submarine transmission systems, to supply renewable electricity to major load centres in the Indo-Pacific and support the region’s low-emissions goals,” Mr Griffin said.

Major Project Status is the Commonwealth Government’s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to Australia. It provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Commonwealth Government approvals, project support and coordination, and help with state and territory approvals.

About Sun Cable
In the context of the fundamental energy transition the global economy is undergoing, and in particular the significant demand for renewable energy in the Indo Pacific, Sun Cable is developing world-leading projects that will help meet the region’s renewable energy needs for decades to come.

Sun Cable was founded in 2018 by the lead executives David Griffin, Mac Thompson and Fraser Thompson.

Sun Cable concluded a significant capital raise in November 2019, which included lead investment from Mike Cannon-Brookes’s Grok Ventures and Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy.

Mr Cannon-Brookes said: “In a carbon-constrained world, Australia should be a winner. This is a massively exciting project with world-changing potential. We have the resources, the ingenuity and the drive to get it done – we just have to put it all together. If we nail this, we can build a new export industry for Australia, create jobs and set our economy up for the future.

Andrew Forrest said: “Australia has the potential to be at the centre of our region’s transition to clean energy, a serious priority for our country. This presents the Australian economy with enormous opportunities not just for reducing emissions but also for the economic march of our nation and global competitiveness. Sun Cable’s Australia-ASEAN Power Link project has the potential to be an important part of this nation-building journey.”