Global expert team to help build Australia-Asia PowerLink project

Australia’s Sun Cable has announced the appointment of a global expert team to help build one the world’s largest renewable energy infrastructure projects, the A$30+ billion Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink), which will supply renewable electricity to Darwin and Singapore.

With expertise in different areas, the team includes:

  • Bechtel (project delivery), a global engineering, construction and project management company;

  • Hatch (HVDC transmission), a global engineering, project management and professional services company, and a leader in complex engineering solutions;

  • SMEC (solar generation system), a global specialist engineering and design consultancy, which is a member of the Surbana Jurong Group, a provider of best-in-class infrastructure development solutions;

  • Marsh (risk management), a global insurance broker and risk advisor;

  • PwC Australia (project advisory), part of the PwC global network, which delivers financial advisory, legal, consulting and assurance professional services, comprising an integrated infrastructure offering.

“Each carefully selected company has a proven track record in developing and delivering complex infrastructure projects, together with a strong commitment to renewable energy giga-projects and providing global solutions to achieve net zero targets,” said Sun Cable in its statement. “Their combined experience across environmental, social and governance frameworks will also be essential in delivering a project of such scale and significance.”

David Griffin, CEO of Sun Cable added that the project “is designed to significantly accelerate the carbon zero ambitions of the region, and we have brought together a dream team to bring it to fruition.”

The AAPowerLink will build a game-changing renewable energy infrastructure system. Sun Cable plans to integrate a range of technologies and infrastructure to develop one of the world’s largest solar farms, to be located in the Northern Territory, Australia (17-20 GWp); the world’s largest battery (36-42 GWh); and the world’s longest undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system from Darwin to Singapore (approximately 4,200 km).

The project will be a high-capacity solar generation, storage, and transmission system that will transmit reliable, dispatchable renewable electricity from the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore markets. Its key components are:

  • Solar farm precinct including energy storage and voltage source converter (VSC);

  • High voltage direct current (HVDC) overhead transmission line (OHTL) from the solar farm to Darwin;

  • VSC and utility-scale battery in Darwin;

  • Subsea HVDC cable system from Darwin to Singapore; and

  • VSC and utility-scale battery in Singapore.

Construction of the AAPowerLink is expected to start from late 2023, with first supply of electricity to Darwin in 2026 and first electricity to Singapore in 2027 (full capacity by end of 2028).

Following the recent granting of the subsea cable route recommendation from the Indonesian Government and approval to undertake the next stage of the subsea cable survey, the appointment of the project management team is the next key milestone in the project.

According to Sun Cable, the company is developing the AAPowerLink to provide renewable electricity to Darwin, in support of the Northern Territory’s ambition to develop an A$40 billion economy by 2030. In recognition of partnership with the NT Government, Sun Cable signed a project delivery agreement with the Chief Minister, Michael Gunner MLA, and was granted major project status in July 2019. Sun Cable is also engaging with the First Nations stakeholders inclusive of Traditional Owners, recognised Native Title Owners, neighbouring communities, and Land Councils.

The AAPowerLink will be capable of supplying up to 15% of electricity needs in Singapore, with full capacity available from 2028. Sun Cable’s modelling shows that the project could reduce Singapore’s emissions by 6 mil t/yr, matching the entire climate abatement gap in the country’s announced 2030 targets.

“By unlocking the vast, world-class solar, and land resources that Australia has available, Sun Cable is creating the pathway for a new export industry, generating up to A$2 billion per annum in exports for Australia, and forecasts the potential to directly and indirectly employ tens of thousands in Australia, Indonesia and Singapore,” concluded the company.

All images: Sun Cable