Ambitious International Solar Power Export Plan Moves Ahead
A first of its kind project that carries solar-generated electricity through an undersea cable will soon be a reality. A 2,360-mile cable will carry power generated by a PV plant in Australia, all the way to Singapore. A route survey for the cable will soon begin.
Dubbed ‘The Sun Cable Project’, this ambitious project is backed by two of the most prominent billionaires from Australia. Software giant Atlassian’s co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, along with Fortescue Metals’ Andrew Forrest – are funding the project with multi-million sums. The survey order was awarded to Guardian Geomatics, while the project will be undertaken by Sun Cable.
‘Sunshine to Asia’
Sun Cable describes the project as ‘Sunshine to Asia’ in one of its press releases. Singapore currently relies on imports of Liquid Natural Gas for about 95% of its energy requirements. As such, it is vulnerable to variations in the oil and gas markets. The Sun Cable project will fulfill a fifth of Singapore’s total energy requirements.
Australia’s political relations with Singapore and geographical location will allow for the High-Voltage-DC (HVDC) cable to be a successful project. The total project cost stands at an astounding $13.1 billion. There are plans to link the cable to Indonesia as well.
Sun Cable’s CEO David Griffin hopes that the financials for the project will close around 2023 and the commencement will be in 2027. In a statement, Andrew Forrest has said that “Australia has the potential to be at the center of our region’s transition to clean energy”. Meanwhile, while speaking at Atlassian’s Sydney office, Cannon-Brookes said that Australia should be a superpower in a carbon-constrained world of technology.
Tennant Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory will house solar panels that spread over 15,000 acres. The plant will also have a battery-storage system to support continuous operation. The total power capacity is slated to be 3GW.
The plant will also use 5B’s modular mounting structures, which come prefabricated with 6-panels clamped in each rack. The rapid-deployment structures will significantly reduce the time required to install the panels.
Image showing 5B’s Maverick mounting systems (source – Sun Cable)
Blessed with plenty of sunshine for a good part of the year, Australia can rapidly move up on the solar installed capacity numbers. In the recent years, it has even started to act in that regard. Besides the Sun Cable project, Pilbara’s ‘Asian Renewable Energy Hub’ is another highly ambitious Australian project which plans on having a 15GW hybrid solar and wind energy plant.