Australia granted “major project status” to an ambitious A$22 billion (US$15.8 billion) plan to export power from a giant solar farm in the country’s north to Southeast Asia via undersea cable.
The status recognizes the “strategic significance” of the project, which is expected to inject billions of dollars into the economy and create thousands of jobs, Australian Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said in a statement yesterday.
The Australia-ASEAN Power Link envisions connecting the world’s largest solar farm and battery system in Australia’s Northern Territory to Singapore and Indonesia via a 3,700km undersea cable.
Similar proposals for long-haul, transnational power shipments have been pursued in other regions, including from North Africa to Europe, and from Mongolia to Japan and South Korea.
The high-profile boost by the Australian government contrasts with the relatively muted interest from Singapore, which is expected to be its main customer.
The city-state’s Energy Market Authority in November last year acknowledged that it had met with the project’s developer, Sun Cable Pty Ltd, but has shown little public appetite in the venture.
The authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday.
Sun Cable has said that the project could supply one-fifth of Singapore’s power needs, helping to reduce its reliance on imports.
The project, which is backed by Atlassian cofounder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew Forrest, plans to start marine survey work from August.
Sun Cable is targeting commercial operations to begin in 2027.
The major project status provides the Sun Cable project with government support that includes a single entry point for national approvals, and assistance with state and territory approvals.
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