Australia’s most ambitious trans continental project, the AAPL (Australia-Asia Power Link) project from Sun Cable has reached yet another milestone with categorisation as an investment ready project by the government agency Infrastructure Australia.. The David Griffin led firm has also been backed by Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures and Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy, together with a range of private investors. The project plans 17–20GWp of solar arrays and 36–42GWh of energy storage that will be connected to Singapore by an over 4000 k.m long HVDC sub sea cables to eventually provide the island nation with close to 15% of its power needs.
The planned location for the project is in the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory in Australia.
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.
Besides Singapore, the project will supply 800MW of renewable electricity capacity for consumption in Darwin.
The consortium involved with the project delivery includes engineering firm Bechtel, engineering and design consultancy SMEC, engineering and project management company Hatch, risk advisor Marsh and advisory firm PwC Australia. Construction could start in 2024, allowing electricity to be supplied to Darwin in 2027 with the plan for full operations by 2029. Potentially, it could replace Singapore’s import of gas.
From its initial conceptualisation to the current stage, the project has moved ahead very well, thanks also to the $210 million series B financing it raised from its investors. Among the large transcontinental projects being planned or underway worldwide, Sun Cable for now looks the closest to moving into full time execution stage.
With a 2 hour time difference between Australia and Singapore, the project is aligned well to meet Singapore’s high energy needs from renewable sources, something it cannot achieve on its own or achieve only at great cost thanks to the limitations of land and location. The abundant ‘waste land’ in the Northern Territory of Australia has come in useful for the project, with a planned use of almost 12000 hectares. With green hydrogen making rapid progress too, don;t be surprised if the giant project is expanded even further to include green hydrogen production and exports too at some stage.
Sun Cable expects the $35 billion project to deliver $2 billion (AUD) in revenues every year post start of operations as on date.