Mega Project: Solar Power Plant to Connect Australia and Singapore

Australia and Singapore are working on one of the largest and most ambitious photovoltaic projects. An outstanding solar park is being built in the northern region of Australia, 800 kilometers south of Darwin, where the Earth is flat and the Sun’s rays are higher than in some other regions of the world.

The massive solar power plant will generate 17 to 20 gigawatts of electricity on 12,000 hectares of dry land. This makes the project several times bigger than Bhadla, the currently largest solar park in India with 2.2 GW of power. A battery storage system with a capacity of 36 to 42 gigawatt hours – which is also a nearly unimaginable size – complements the power plant in the Australian outback and ensures that electricity is carried away evenly.

Electricity is to be delivered to the coast via overhead lines and then to Singapore via 3,750 km of high-voltage direct current submarine cables at sea level. The Australia-Asia Power Link is the name of a project being managed by Australian company Sun Cable. Once completed, Singapore can meet 15 percent of its electricity needs from this source. According to Sun Cable, with this renewable energy supply, Singapore can reduce its emissions by 6 million tonnes per year.

Environmental studies and financing activities are currently underway. Fundraising is expected to be completed in 2023, with construction slated to begin shortly thereafter. From 2027, the power plant and power line should be in normal operation. The investment has been calculated to be US$26 billion for the 70-year project. Around 1,500 jobs will be created during the construction phase and 350 during operation.

The Indonesian government, through whose sovereign waters the submarine cable will run, supports the project. Permission has been given for underwater survey. Indonesia will offer Indonesia the precise route of the submarine cable in return for an investment of US$2.5 billion. Sun Cable has also committed to knowledge transfer to Indonesian educational institutions. PF

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