The Northern Territory Government and Sun Cable have signed an agreement that will advance the development of the $22 billion Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL).
The project will see up to $8 billion invested into the Territory, which will host the largest solar farm and renewable energy system in the world.
The signing of the Project Development Agreement on 28 January 2021 provides a roadmap for the NT Government and Sun Cable to work in partnership to finalise land tenure and commercial arrangements ahead of the project’s financial close.
The sun-soaked Barkly region has been selected as the ideal location for a solar farm and battery storage facility, which will be built across 12,000 hectares near Elliott.
Once operational, power from the site will be available 24/7, with the solar farm supporting the 30-gigawatt storage facility.
As well as the Barkly’s sunny, cloud-free advantages, the facility will capitalise on the close access to road and rail.
The 70-year project is forecast to generate 1,500 jobs during construction and 350 ongoing positions once operations commence.
Construction for the project is expected to start immediately after financial close in October 2023.
By 2027, the AAPL will have the capacity to provide a significant amount of renewable energy for the Territory, as well as up to 20 per cent of Singapore’s electricity supply. This could provide a reliable, affordable energy supply and unlock potential for a green manufacturing hub in Darwin.
Once up and running, it’s estimated the project will export $1 billion dollars’ worth of solar electricity each year.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the announcement is a big step forward for the Territory – for its energy security and job security.
“This project will put the NT on the international map when it comes to renewables,” Mr Gunner said.
“It will also see hundreds of Territorians find work in the Barkly and Darwin regions during the construction and operational phases.”
“Territorians are already seeing the benefits of this investment, with Sun Cable hiring more than a dozen Darwin firms for initial works,” he said.
“This project will transform the Territory into a renewable energy powerhouse, and cement our position as Australia’s comeback capital.”
Sun Cable CEO, David Griffin, added that the AAPL project will generate and transmit dispatchable, competitively priced, renewable energy at scale.
“This will provide affordable, reliable energy to support industrial growth in Darwin, as well as supplying up to 20 per cent of Singapore’s electricity needs,” he said.
“The Australia-ASEAN Power Link project will help the Northern Territory make deep cuts to its emissions intensity by decoupling economic growth from carbon pollution.”