The Australia–Asia Power Link (AAPowerLink) is a proposed electricity infrastructure project that is planned to include the world's largest solar plant, the world's largest battery, and the world's longest submarine power cable. A solar farm in Northern Territory, Australia, will produce up to 20 gigawatts of electricity, most of which will be exported to Singapore and Indonesia by a 4,500 km (2,800 mi) 3GW HVDC transmission line. A 36-42 GWh battery is planned to store energy to levelize energy availability as sunlight varies throughout the day.
|Australia–Asia Power Link|
|Commission date||2027 (projected)|
|Construction cost||AU$30 billion|
|Nameplate capacity||17-20 GW|
The AAPL is being developed by the Singaporean firm Sun Cable and is projected to begin construction in mid-2023, with operation starting in early 2026 and completion by late 2027. The project will add AU$8 billion to the economy of the Northern Territory, then exporting AU$2 billion of electricity every year.
The solar plant would be in the Northern Territory near Elliott in the Barkly Region, using photovoltaic modules designed by Australian company 5B and prefabricated at a proposed factory in Darwin. The solar panels will cover 12,000 ha (30,000 acres) in an area with some of the best solar resources in the world. An 800 km (500 mi) overhead power line will transmit 3 GW to Darwin, where it will transfer to a 3,700 km (2,300 mi) 2.2 GW undersea power line to Singapore. This undersea cable will be the longest undersea cable in the world, exceeding the existing longest undersea power cable by a factor of around five.
Batteries at the solar array in Darwin and Singapore will provide load-balancing for continuous daily dispatch.
Singapore produced 95% of its electricity in 2015 from natural gas, but seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The AAPL could provide about 20% of Singapore's electricity, with no carbon dioxide generation, reducing Singapore's emissions by 6 million tonnes per year.
In September 2021, it was announced that there would be further expansions to the proposed size of the project, from 10GW to 20GW capacity, and from 20GWh to 36-42GWh of battery storage, with a new estimated construction cost of $30 billion dollars. Forecasts suggest up to $A2 billion in exports, 1500 jobs in construction, 350 operational jobs, and 12,000 indirect jobs will be created across Australia, Singapore and Indonesia.
The project was initially called the Australia–Singapore Power Link, as the power line will initially connect those two countries. It was later renamed to Australia-ASEAN, and again to Australia-Asia, as it may also bring electricity to Indonesia.
Sun Cable intends to secure all financing by late 2023, beginning construction the following year. It is expected to cost AU$30 billion (US$22.6 billion). Initial investments came from billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest.
In July 2019, the project received major project status from the Northern Territory government, ensuring local support in development and construction. The Australian government awarded the same status in July 2020, expediting construction by facilitating coordination and permitting. Singapore has not yet permitted the project, but benefits for it include long-term electricity price stability, the potential to become a hub for trading renewable electricity in the Southeast Asian power grid, and meeting its agreements to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement.
Undersea surveying will take place in 2020 by Guardian Geomatics.
A project development agreement was signed between Northern Territory and Sun Cable in January 2021, providing for commercial partnership.
An Integrated Project Delivery Team (IPDT) composed of multi-disciplinary international partners was announced in October 2021, including Betchtel (Project Delivery), Hatch Ltd (HVDC Tramission), Marsh (Risk Management), PwC Australia (Project Advisory) and SMEC (Solar Generation System).
Construction is projected to require 1,000 jobs, and operation will have 300 jobs in the Northern Territory.
It is expected to deliver first supply of electricity to Darwin in 2026, Singapore in 2027 with full capacity by end of 2028.
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