Could Singapore’s floating solar farm pose a threat to NT’s Sun Cable project?

Singapore-based sustainable energy company Sunseap aims to build an A $ 2.7 billion, 2,200 MW floating solar project on Batam Island after reaching an agreement with the Indonesian government Badan Pengusahaan Batam that will be will be located just 50 km from Singapore – much closer than the NT-based Solar Cable Project.

The floating solar farm project will cover 1,600 hectares and is expected to feature the largest combined solar power and energy storage systems, with a total capacity of 4,000 MWh.

While the Batam Island plan is only 50 km from Singapore, it has raised questions about the proposed Sun Cable project and the effectiveness of its massive 4,200 km submarine connector.

The A $ 30 billion Australia-Asia power link, commonly known as the Sun Cable Project, is enormous in scope and scale and will include a 12,000 hectare solar power plant at Powell Creek Station in the Northern Territory, some 600 kilometers southeast of Darwin. The plant will have the capacity to generate up to 20 gigatons of electricity and 36 to 42 gigatons of battery storage.

The heart of the project is the 4,200 kilometer submarine cable that will connect the renewable energy source to its main market in Singapore.

The transmission lines will follow the Adelaide-Darwin railway line from Powell Creek to Livingstone, south of Darwin, and then divert to Gunn Point, about 20 km northeast of Darwin, where a converter station and facility storage facilities will be erected over an area of ​​55 hectares.

Frank Phuan, co-founder and CEO of Sunseap, said his project could pave the way for similar-sized sustainable energy projects in Southeast Asia.

“We believe that floating solar systems will go a long way in solving the land constraints that urbanized regions of Southeast Asia face in harnessing renewable energy,” he said.

Sunseap recently completed Singapore’s first floating offshore solar farm in the Strait of Johor, and this new project is a significant milestone for the company.

The construction race

Construction on the Sun Cable project is expected to begin in 2024. It is expected to create 1,500 construction jobs and 350 operations jobs, with an investment of $ 8 billion in northern Australia. While the Sunseap project is expected to start in 2022 and end in 2024.

In March, Sunseap completed a much smaller 5 MW floating system near Singapore along the Straits of Johor.

At the COP26 summit in Glasgow, the Sun Cable team was in full view at the Australia pavilion. David Griffin, CEO of Sun Cable, revealed to the Australian Financial Review that he spent the week chatting with investors, consumers and other industry players working on similar initiatives across Europe .

In October, a Singapore-based independent electricity retailer, which had previously committed to buying solar power from Sun Cable, exited the retail electricity market, along with four other retailers.

In March 2021, iSwitch Energy, one of the city-state’s three major retailers and its largest green retailer, had committed to being a core buyer for the solar power that will be produced by the proposed Sun Cable project. .

Backed by Australian billionaires Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes, Sun Cable had planned to supply a fifth of Singapore’s energy needs – to reduce the country’s dependence on imported LNG (liquefied natural gas).

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