Australia plans to export solar power to Singapore via undersea cable

Australia plans to export solar power to Singapore via undersea cable

FILE PHOTO:  The Villanueva photovoltaic (PV) power plant is seen in the desert near Villanueva, Coahuila State, Mexico on April 20, 2018. (AFP)
FILE PHOTO: The Villanueva photovoltaic (PV) power plant is seen in the desert near Villanueva, Coahuila State, Mexico on April 20, 2018. (AFP)

Survey work will soon begin on an ambitious plan to export power from a giant solar farm in Australia to Singapore via a 3,800 kilometre undersea cable.

The Sun Cable project, which is backed by Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals’ founder Andrew Forrest, has awarded a contract to Perth-based Guardian Geomatics to conduct a route survey for the high voltage direct current cable. Cannon-Brookes has championed the “lighthouse” project as a demonstration of how Australia can harness its natural advantages in clean energy and wean off its reliance on coal and gas export revenues.

“This initial survey is a major step toward an exciting, multibillion-dollar project, described as exporting ‘sunshine’ to Asia,” Guardian Geomatics said in a media release. Sun Cable says the project can supply a fifth of Singapore’s power needs, helping to reduce the city-state’s reliance on natural gas imports. It also has plans to link to Indonesia.

Funds connected to Cannon-Brookes and Forrest co-led a capital raising for the project last November. The total capital cost is seen in the region of A$20 billion ($13.1 billion), with commercial operations targeted to start in 2027.

The company is also working to install a 50-megawatt big battery near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. The facility would initially provide back up services to the local power grid, but will ultimately form part of a larger storage system to support the Australia-Asean Power Link project. Construction is slated to commence in 2021, with commissioning targeted for 2022.


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