How Sun Cable’s $16 bn AAPL is crucial for solar energy biz in Australia

Sun Cable’s $15.8 billion proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) will be crucial to make Australia super-power in the solar energy business, says research firm GlobalData.

Australia granted a Major Project status to Sun Cable’s $15.8 billion proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) that could mark Australia as the leading exporter of power generation from solar PV.

The ambitious Australia-ASEAN Power Link project, run by Singapore-based Sun Cable, plans to supply solar power to Singapore and eventually Indonesia via the world’s longest subsea high voltage cable.

It would consist of a 4,500-km (2,800-mile) cable linked to a 10 gigawatt solar farm as well as an energy storage facility of up to 30 GWh in the Northern Territory. Both the solar farm and the battery facility would be the biggest of their kind.

The venture highlights a 4,500km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission framework, connecting a 10GW solar and 30GWh storage facility near Darwin, Australia, with Singapore.

The power link will enable Australia to manage the solar power intermittency in the grid and help Singapore to improve the  share of renewable energy in the generation mix from a mere 4.0 percent at present, to about 20 percent by 2027, says GlobalData.

The global solar atlas reflects that the southeast Asian region features a low specific yield ranging between approximately 1300-1400kWh/kWp, whereas sunniest places in Australia have a specific yield of over 1700 kWh/kWp.

“Australia has the ingredients that could make it one of the world’s largest generator and exporter of solar energy. This venture, in line with the nation’s renewable energy export approach, would be a new milestone of energy symbiosis within the countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Oceania corridor,” Ankit Mathur, practice head of Power at GlobalData, said.

Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said the company aims to build a factory in Darwin next year to manufacture Maverick solar modules, which it will eventually use at the proposed giant solar farm.

Maverick modules are designed by private Australian firm 5B. Sun Cable also wants to build the first stage of the battery facility it plans in Darwin.

GlobalData estimates that Australia will witness exponential growth in the solar PV capacity by the end of 2030 with a CAGR of 11.3 percent and more than tripling the solar PV capacity from 13GW to 40GW. By the end of 2027, Sun Cable predicts the AAPL to export around AU$2 billion or $1.44 billion of solar energy per year to Singapore, connecting Australia into the ASEAN Power Grid.

During construction itself, the project is estimated to create 1500 construction  jobs.

Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which was to construct a subsea cable to supply Indonesia with green power generated at massive 15GW solar and wind farms situated in Pilbara, Australia, did not take off due to cost overruns.