Forrest calls for overhaul of AAPowerLink project

Dr Andrew Forrest AO (AAPowerLink)
Fortescue Future Industries' Dr Andrew Forrest

Squadron Energy’s Andrew Forrest has called for overhaul of the beleaguered Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) project, which hangs in the balance after he and tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes clashed over funding plans.

Project developer Sun Cable, largely owned by Forrest’s private firm Squadron Energy and Cannon-Brookes’ private firm Grok Ventures, appointed voluntary administrators last week less than a year after raising $210 million for the Australia-Asia PowerLink project.

Related article: AAPowerLink’s Sun Cable in voluntary administration

“Squadron Energy believes in the vision but believes the manner in which the project is delivered needs urgent change,” Squadron Energy chair John Hartman said.

The project involves building a 20GW solar farm, the world’s biggest energy storage facility and a 4,200km undersea cable to deliver power from Australia to Singapore and Indonesia.

“Exceptional governance practices and world-class project delivery expertise, as well as pursuing bankable technologies, will be required to make the project a reality,” Hartman said.

Co-owner Cannon-Brookes said he still fully backed AAPowerLink’s ambition and team.

Australia’s energy minister Chris Bowen also expressed confidence the project would eventually go ahead with a new funding structure after having spoken to “very senior people” in Sun Cable.

Related article: Sun Cable gets $210m boost from billionaires Cannon-Brookes and Forrest

“I remain very upbeat and excited about Sun Cable’s future,” Bowen told reporters.

He said Sun Cable, which had hoped to begin construction in 2024, was crucial to Australia’s ambition to become a major renewable energy exporter.

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