Sun Cable sale process kicks off, plays up Singapore link and green hydrogen

Sun Cable sale process kicks off, plays up Singapore link and green hydrogen

The sale process for the developer of what could be the world’s largest solar farm – and battery storage installation – has officially begun, with the voluntary administrators of Sun Cable Pty Ltd putting up the for sale sign.

FTI Consulting, which was brought in earlier in January after billionaire backers Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes failed to resolve their differences over the company’s business plan, appointed MA Moelis and Moelis & Co to advise on the sale.

The documents circulated to potential buyers point out that Sun Cable is a developer of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects, with 121 employees across Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

The company was able to retain most of those employees thanks to a $65 million interest-free loan from Cannon-Brookes private company Grok Investments, to ensure that the know-how and IP for the company’s major export plans were not lost during the administration period . .

Sun Cable proposes to build up to 20GW of solar and up to 42GWh of battery storage, along with a 900MW, 800km transmission line to Darwin, and a 4200km submarine cable to provide a 1.75GW power link to Singapore.

Cannon-Brookes supports this vision, and the plan to duplicate it in other parts of the world, but Forrest’s private company Squadron Energy wants to dump the link, and instead focus on local industry and production of green hydrogen and green ammonia.

In that light, it is interesting to note that FTI has described Sun Cable’s “primary and most developed project is the world’s largest solar infrastructure network, the Australia-Asia PowerLink”, which will be developed over two phases.

The first phase is described as a solar park whose output will be transmitted “24/7 via high voltage direct current (“HVDC”) transmission to Darwin (900 MW) and HVDC submarine cables to Singapore (1.75 GW), which reliable multi-gigawatt scale renewable electricity.”

It notes that Phase 1 is substantially advanced, with support from federal and local government and a number of required approvals.

It also notes that the project is also subject to extensive technical review in conjunction with its project development partners, as well as strong off-take interest that exceeds the available supply.

FTI also notes that phase 2 of the project, based on demand from a number of green manufacturing projects (particularly green hydrogen), will use that common transmission infrastructure from Phase 1 to provide further dispatchable renewable capacity to Darwin.

It notes that Sun Cable is on track to make a final investment decision for AAPowerLink Phase 1 in 2024.

FTI is seeking binding proposals for the sale of Sun Cable by the end of April, and wants to complete the sale before the end of May.

See David Leitch’s analysis of the Sun Cable project: Sun Cable: It’s a lot more viable than you think, at the right price

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