Plans to build a giant solar power and battery facility in central Australia to supply electricity to Singapore will go ahead thanks to backing from tech and mining billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.
The duo are co-leads on an investment round for Singapore-based Sun Cable‘s $22 billion proposal for a 10-gigawatt (GW) solar farm and 22GWh battery storage near Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory.
Solar is stepping up while the Australian Government continues to step back – locked into an ideological stance of opposing any alternative to coal and denying any impact on the climate. Sad to see this continue.
Singapore gets 95% of its electricity from imported LNG and Sun Cable hopes running a 4500km high voltage direct current cable from the 15,000 hectare site – around a quarter of the size of Singapore itself – via Darwin to the island state will supply up to one-fifth of the city’s power needs. It will be the world’s largest solar farm and also supply the NT capital.
The 10GW plant is nearly double the 5,500 megawatts Snowy Hydro scheme, which generates around 4500GWh anually. The Australia-Singapore Power Link (APSL) plant’s generation capacity is four times more than Australia’s largest coal-fired power station.
Central to the project is Sydney solar energy startup 5B, founded by Chris McGrath and Eden Tehan in 2013.
The business developed new technology for portable, prefabricated solar arrays, re-engineering the supply chain and simplifying how solar projects are delivered, using fewer materials, rapid deployment and streamlined logistics.
If Australia makes this happen, we can become the biggest energy supplier to the Asian region – Indonesia, Malaysia and more.
The project is expected to take six to seven years to complete.
Big Battery gets bigger too
News of Sun Cable’s progress comes in the same week that South Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, dubbed the Tesla Big Battery, announced plans to expand the world’s largest battery by 50% by mid 2020.
The 50 MW/64.5 MWh expansion, supported by Tesla, will be the first grid-scale battery in Australia to provide inertia benefits to the National Electricity Market (NEM), which is critical to grid stability and the future integration of renewable energy.
Solar looks set to change history – for the better.