EnergyWatch

Australia billionaires plan to export solar power to Singapore

A major Australian project entailing 10 GW of hybrid solar capacity with energy storage, connected to Singapore through a 4,500 kilometer export cable is in the process of raising capital. If realized by target year 2027, the project could supply around one fifth of the city state's electricity requirements.

Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Two of Australia’s richest people, Atlassian Corp. co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals Group Chairman Andrew Forrest, are investing in an ambitious project to export solar power from a giant plant in Australia to Singapore via a 4,500 kilometer transmission cable.

The project raised tens of millions of Australian dollars that will allow it to undertake development work ahead of an expected financial close in late 2023, according to developer Sun Cable’s Chief Executive Officer David Griffin and a company statement. The plan incorporates a 10 gigawatt solar facility, which the company says will be the world’s biggest, as well as battery storage.

“This is a massively exciting project with world-changing potential,” Cannon-Brookes, a campaigner for clean energy, said in the statement. “If we nail this, we can build a new export industry for Australia, create jobs and set our economy up for the future.”

Grok Ventures, the private investment vehicle of Cannon-Brookes, and Squadron Energy, a natural resources exploration and development company set up by Forrest, were the co-lead investors on the capital raise, according to the statement.

The project could meet around a fifth of Singapore’s energy needs, according to Sun Cable, helping to reduce its reliance on imported liquefied natural gas. The total capital cost is seen in the region of AUD 20 billion, with commercial operations targeted to start in 2027.

Singapore’s utility, SP Group, and its electricity industry regulator, Energy Markets Authority, didn’t immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

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