Uluru, Northern Territory. Source: Flickr, Robert Young.
A renewable energy project that could provide up to 20% of Singaporeâ€™s electricity needs has been fast tracked by the Australian government.Â
Major Project Status has been granted to Sun Cableâ€™s proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL), which would be one of the worldâ€™s largest dispatchable renewable electricity systems, supported by the â€śworldâ€™s largest battery and solar farmâ€ť, to be located in the Barkly region, Northern Territory.
The AU$22 billion (US$15.79 billion) project features a 4,500km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system connecting a 10GW solar / 30GWhÂ storage facility near Darwin with Singapore and eventually Indonesia.Â
By the end of 2027, Sun Cable predicts the AAPL will be able to export approximately AU$2 billion (US$1.44 billion) of solar energy per year to Singapore, connecting Australia into the ASEAN Power Grid.Â
Major Project Status is the Australian governmentâ€™s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to the country.
Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said granting of the status is a â€śsignificant milestoneâ€ť for the AAPL, which will see Australia â€śbecome a world leader in renewable electricity tradeâ€ť.
â€śThis 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,â€ť he added.
Founded in 2018 by Griffin, chief operating officer Mac Thompson and chief strategy officer Fraser Thompson, Sun Cable concluded a â€śsignificant capital raiseâ€ťÂ in November 2019, which included lead investment from Mike Cannon-Brookes’s Grok Ventures and Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy.Â
The AAPL solar PV plant is a 10GW array located close to Elliott in the Northern Territory. The site is located adjacent to existing logistics infrastructure, including a railway line, Stuart Highway and high capacity fibre optic cables. The associated 30GWh storage facility will support the solar farmâ€™s operations, enabling round-the-clock power, Sun Cable said.
Electricity dispatched from the solar and storage facility will be transmitted to Darwin via a 750km transmission line.Â
During construction, the AAPL project will create 1,500 construction jobs and 350 ongoing positions in Australia.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the development draws on Australiaâ€™s â€śworld-class solar technologyâ€ť to export renewable energy â€śon an unprecedented scaleâ€ť.
â€śNot only will this power link make Australia a world leader, it will also create significant economic and employment opportunities here at home, with about AU$8 billion (US$5.74 billion) of the US$22 billion investment to be injected directly into Australia,â€ť she added.