Ambitious plan to power Singapore with Australian solar energy


Monday, 15 July, 2019


Ambitious plan to power Singapore with Australian solar energy

The Guardian has reported an ambitious plan to export electricity to Singapore, generated by solar and wind farms in Australia’s north.

The first is a solar farm at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory known as Sun Cable, which is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, 10 GW array of panels will be spread across 15,000 ha and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock. Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid, but the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore.

The developers say the $20bn development could deliver one-fifth of Singapore’s energy needs, which could have far-reaching consequences for Australia’s energy industry and what the country sells to the world — and will be a way in which Australian energy production could help reduce global emissions.

Sun Cable’s backers believe Singapore, as a well-regulated electricity market that runs mostly on gas piped from Malaysia and Indonesia and shipped as LNG, is ripe for competition.

The idea has been embraced by the NT Government and attracted the attention of software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, who is considering involvement through his Grok Ventures private investment firm.

The NT plan follows a similarly ambitious proposal for the Pilbara, where another group of developers is working on an even bigger wind and solar hybrid plant to power local industry and develop a green hydrogen manufacturing hub. On Friday, project developer Andrew Dickson announced that the scale of the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub has grown by more than a third, from 11 to 15 GW. “To our knowledge, it’s the largest wind-solar hybrid in the world,” he said.

These developments are still at relatively early stages of planning. Both teams say it will be four years before they lock in finance, with production scheduled to start mid-to-late next decade.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/vege

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