Undersea cable to take stored solar from Australia to ASEAN grid backed by state gov’t

The vast solar farms and energy storage systems could supply other countries in Asia from Australia's Northern Territory (pictured). Image: Flickr user David King.

Australian authorities have rallied behind what is arguably the largest solar-plus-storage project to be conceived in the world’s history.

Over the weekend, Northern Territory first minister Michael Gunner confirmed his government has granted major project status to a scheme mixing 10GW of solar with 20-30GWh of energy storage.

Designed with costs of AU$20 billion (US$14 billion) in mind, the project is slated for construction in Tennant Creek, a town in central Northern Australia. 

The scheme is the brainchild of Singapore’s SunCable, which wants to use it to shore up the Asian state-city’s power system and limit its over-reliance on natural gas imports.  

The developer intends to set up a 3,800 km high-voltage direct current submarine cable to transfer most of the installation’s output to Singapore, where it could cover 20% of power needs, while various reports also link it to the potential ASEAN grid. The plan, however, is to also link the mega-installation to Australia’s own electricity grid so that it can supply Northern Territory capital Darwin and others.

Speaking to local media, first minister Gunner said talks will soon begin with SunCable on a project development agreement, which will set the scene for environmental assessments and others.

Gunner tweeted news of the decision enthusiastically:

"Major Project Status @SunCable1 [✅]
We will get this done in #TheTerritory: [✅]
largest solar farm [✅]
largest battery [✅]
longest underwater power cable

Think big. Do big. #boundlesspossible" 

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