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Australia-Asia Power Link: The world’s most ambitious renewable energy project

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A significant energy advancement is underway in Asia-Pacific as the demand for electricity continues to grow quickly.

In Southeast Asia, energy demand is growing at an average of 6% per year and is forecasted to grow 60% by 2040. Access to low-cost, clean, and reliable electricity over the medium to long term is critical to the region’s long-term planning and economic competitiveness.

Sun Cable, the firm behind the project, is developing the Australia–Asia Power Link (AAPL), the world’s largest Solar Energy infrastructure. The AAPL, consisting of solar, storage, and an HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission network, will provide Darwin and Singapore with high quality, dispatchable renewable power supply.

Construction is expected to start in late 2023, with solar energy to reach Darwin in 2026 and Singapore the following year.

“This is the largest solar farm under development in the world, it’s also the largest battery anywhere in the world, it’s about 300 times larger than the largest battery at the moment. It’s a very significant project,” according to Sun Cable chief executive David Griffin. 

The farm, estimated to cost at least A$20 billion, will include a 10-GW solar farm with panels spread across 15,000 hectares with battery storage in the Northern Territory, Australia, and supported by a 22-GWh battery to enable a 24/7 HVDC transmission system to Darwin and Singapore. Sun Cable hopes it can produce up to 20 percent of Singapore’s energy requirements in the future.

How does the Australia-Asia Power Link work?

The basic principle behind the AAPL is simple: install a mega-sized solar farm in the town of Tennant Creek, which is located 990km from Darwin, in the sunniest region of Australia, to maximise the electricity output of solar panels.

The harnessed renewable energy will be transmitted to Darwin and the ASEAN region via a 4,500 km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system. When completed, this project will break three records globally: the largest solar farm, the largest battery, and the largest submarine power line.

Image Credit: Sun Cable

ESC addressing Sun Cable’s environmental challenges

ESC, as the leading EHS consultant in the region for renewable energy and sustainability, is proud to be appointed by Sun Cable Australia.

As the key EHS consultant, ESC is developing the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) to assist Sun Cable in securing relevant regulatory approvals and international project financing for the installation of a 2,200 MW HVDC subsea cable through Indonesian territorial waters.

In addition to our advisory expertise on core regulatory aspects, we also draw upon our significant experience in Asia to provide environmental baseline services within Singapore’s territorial waters and develop environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) in accordance with IFC Performance Standards covering Singapore, Indonesia, and across the region.

ESC’s team lead by Toby Nugent and Pak Yahya Husin has been working with Sun Cable since 2020 to execute a robust and cost-effective option for delivery of the environmental permitting aspects and ESIA. 

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