01 Aug 2020

Australia Fast-Tracks $16 Billion Solar Power Export Project

01 Aug 2020  by Reuters   
Australia decided this week to fast track approvals for a A$22 billion ($16 billion) project to supply solar power to Singapore via the world's longest subsea high voltage cable, a move to boost recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The Australia-ASEAN Power Link project, run by Singapore-based Sun Cable, envisions a 10 gigawatt solar farm and energy storage facility of up to 30 GWh in the Northern Territory, with a 4,500-km (2,800-mile) link to Singapore and eventually Indonesia.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the project was strategically important for Australia, the world's top coal and liquefied natural gas exporter, to remain a major energy exporter, and for its potential to create hundreds of jobs.

"It's a strong statement to all Australians that despite the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic...industry is still investing in opportunities that will drive our economic recovery and create much needed jobs," he said in a statement.

Sun Cable Chief Executive David Griffin was not immediately available for comment on Thursday, but said last November the company aimed to secure financing for the project by late 2023 after completing design work and gaining approvals.

With "major project status", Sun Cable will get government support in steering through all national and regional approvals. A year ago, it won major project status from the Northern Territory.

"This project is helping to grow a new industry, utilising intercontinental HVDC submarine transmission systems to supply renewable electricity to major load centres in the Indo-Pacific and support the region's low-emission goals," Griffin said in a statement on Wednesday.

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