NT inks deal for mega solar farm

The NT government has signed a $22 billion deal with Singaporean company Sun Cable to develop a massive solar plant in central Australia.

The Project Development Agreement signed last week is the latest step in the development of the Australia-ASEAN Power  Link (AAPL) which will see the Territory host the world’s largest solar farm, and export power to Singapore and other ASEAN markets.

The project, which will include a 10GW solar plant, huge storage system and a 3,750km submarine link to Singapore, will be built across 12,000 hectares near the town of Elliott in the Barkly region.

Marine survey company Guardian Geomatics announced last year it had surveyed the Australian section of the AAPL cable route.

The next phase of the survey, in Singaporean and Indonesian waters, is due to begin this year.

Once operational, the facility will support a 30GW storage facility and export up to $1 billion dollars worth of solar electricity a year.

Surveying for the Australian section of the submarine cable was completed last year (image via Guardian Geomatics)

Supplying Singapore

The project would be able to supply up to 20 per cent of Singapore’s electricity needs,” Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said.

“Through the Australia-ASEAN Power Link, Sun Cable seeks to generate and transmit dispatchable, competitively-priced, renewable energy at scale.

Chief minister Michael Gunner says the project will put the NT on the international renewables map.

“This project will transform the Territory into a renewable energy powerhouse,” he said.

Michael Gunner and renewables minister Eva lawler sign the Project Development Agreement with Sun Cable on January 28, 2021.

The NT government and Sun Cable will work in partnership to finalise land tenure and commercial arrangements with financial closure expected in 2023 and construction to begin in October 2023.

The first electricity is expected to be delivered in Dariwin by 2026 and Singapore from 2027.

The Project Development Agreement recognizes the AAPL’s status as a major project.

The AAPL is being backed Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon Brookes and mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.

“A cable of a thousand miles begins with a single stroke,” Mr Cannon-Brookes tweeted on Thursday after the agreement was signed.

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