Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink investment ready

Australia-Asian Powerlink solar farm (sun cable)
Image: Sun Cable

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) has met all requirements of Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List, advancing the project to Stage 3 ‘Investment-ready’ status and affirming the project’s economic benefits.

The AAPowerLink is the world’s largest solar, storage and transmission system that will transmit renewable electricity from the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore.

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The Infrastructure Priority List is a credible pipeline of nationally significant proposals. It identifies nationally significant problems and opportunities, with strategic merit, value for taxpayers and deliverability. Through this transparent process, Infrastructure Australia identifies infrastructure needs and guides governments towards infrastructure investments that will deliver the best value for communities.

Sun Cable founder and CEO David Griffin said, “Today’s announcement by Infrastructure Australia affirms that the AAPowerLink is economically viable and will deliver significant benefits for Australia and our region.

“The AAPowerLink will enable a stronger economy for the long term through contracts, wages and economic diversification. It will spur enhanced capacity and skills in the construction and technology sectors as a result of jobs and training over the lifetime of the project, and pave the way for new green industries to be established, and to thrive.”

In March 2022, PwC and Sun Cable completed an assessment of the economic impact of the AAPowerLink to the NT and Australia. The report concluded that there is a net positive impact on economic activity for both the NT and Australia, with significant opportunities for economic development.

The AAPowerLink will deliver significant benefits to Australia, including:

  • 800MW of zero carbon electricity for Northern Australia, supporting prospective industrial loads
  • $8 billion in expected investment into Australia
  • $2 billion in expected annual export revenues to Australia from 2028, roughly the same as the dairy industry today
  • 14,000 direct and indirect jobs expected to be created by the AAPowerLink, with most in Australia
  • 2.6 million tonnes of estimated carbon emissions abatement.

PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour said, “The Australia-Asia PowerLink will be transformative for the country on multiple fronts. This $30+ billion project is forecast to deliver a $24 billion boost to GDP over its lifetime, generating 1,100 jobs on average each year, supercharging the economic development of regional and Northern Australia and communities, regional energy innovation and decarbonisation.”

Sun Cable chief government and corporate affairs officer Georgie Skipper said, “Sun Cable has worked with Infrastructure Australia since December 2020, to be first listed as a priority in February 2021. Now being deemed investment ready through the independent review process is a significant milestone.

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“We are one of few private sector led projects to be deemed investment ready in this year’s Infrastructure Priority List, in recognition of the significant economic impact the Australia-Asia PowerLink can have on the NT and Australian economy. There is a strong benefit to national capacity and employment creation, with an average of 1,100 total jobs estimated to be supported annually at the national level over the entire project. We look forward to working with the government and the private sector to bring this project to fruition.”

The Australia-Asia PowerLink is targeted to reach financial close by the start of 2024. Construction will commence in 2024, with electricity supplied to Darwin in 2027 and full operations by 2029.