Sun Cable’s Australian solar-storage project deemed investment ready

Construction of the Australia-Asia PowerLink is due to begin in 2024. Image: Sun Cable.

A project in Australia that could feature up to 17–20GWp of solar and 36–42GWh of energy storage has been categorised as investment ready by a government agency.

Sun Cable, the company behind the Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink), said Infrastructure Australia has affirmed the economic merit of the project, which will transmit renewable electricity from the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore.

The announcement “affirms that the AAPowerLink is economically viable”, said David Griffin, Sun Cable CEO and founder.

Financial close for the project is set to be reached in 2024, when construction work will also begin, with full operations aimed for 2029, when around 2GW of electricity will be transmitted to Singapore through HVDC subsea cables.

Having received approval from Indonesian authorities last year for its proposed transmission cable route through the country’s waters, Sun Cable has since secured the backing of Australian billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest as part of a AU$210 million (US$152 million) Series B funding round.

The AAPowerLink will be capable of supplying up to 15% of Singapore’s total electricity needs, according to Sun Cable, which said advances in renewable energy generation, energy storage and HVDC cable transmission technologies have made it commercially and technically viable to transmit dispatchable, renewable electricity over long distances.

As well as exports to Singapore, the project will supply 800MW of renewable electricity capacity for consumption in Darwin.

The Northern Territory’s chief minister, Natasha Fyles, said the project “will position the territory as a renewable energy powerhouse”.

A consortium working to deliver the project includes engineering firm Bechtel, engineering and design consultancy SMEC, engineering and project management company Hatch, risk advisor Marsh and advisory firm PwC Australia.

Sun Cable said the AAPowerLink will deliver AU$8 billion (US$5.5 billion) of investment into Australia as well as AU$2 billion in annual export revenues to the country as of 2028.

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