Australian sunshine could soon be farmed to power an Asian nation
Setting one thing aside, this is one Greenie scheme that could work. Australia is mostly desert so uninterrupted sunshine will happen most of the time. So Singapore could get cheap daytime power from Australia and turn on its gas-fired generators at night. And if there was any interruption to the Australian power supply they could just turn on their gas generators during the day as well. Perfect. Cheap uninterruptible power. The Holy Grail
So where is the African person in the woodpile? Cost. Particularly with the undersea cable, there would be a huge capital cost before startup, a cost borne by banks who will want their usual 4% pa on funds invested. Generating the power may not cost much but paying the huge bills needed to get the generating going will be another matter. Just about all big projects cost at least twice the initial estimate so to pay the banks the operators will have to charge big for what they supply. Will it be so big that the Singaporeans will simply say "No thanks"? Could be.
And let me mention another nettle: Solar farms actually require a lot of maintenance and with so many panels that will be a big cost too.
If the project goes ahead, it is my prophecy that all investors, including the banks, will lose their shirts. And in a capitalist society destruction of capital is a big issue. It means that money which could have been used productively was in fact wasted. But that's standard Greenie form, of course
An Australian entrepreneur wants the Northern Territory desert to become home to the world’s biggest solar farm, with the electricity generated sent along undersea cables to Singapore.
David Griffin is an entrepreneur and leader in the development of Australia's renewable energy industry and his ambitious new plan to power Singapore from a 15,000-hectare solar farm in the Northern Territory has investors taking interest worldwide.
“It is first and foremost the largest solar farm under development in the world,” the Sun Cable CEO told SBS's Small Business Secrets from Singapore.
The Sun Cable project will be the first of its kind to try and export clean energy internationally.
A former GM Development at Infigen Energy, David has been developing solar and wind farms in Australia and South Africa for nearly 20 years.
His Sun Cable project would send electricity to Darwin, then along a 3,800-kilometre undersea cable to Singapore.
“It’s an extremely complex problem that we are solving. There are risks associated with that [undersea cable] and that’s why it’ll take a long time to go through the entire design process,” he said.
“It is the longest proposed project on the table at the moment but it’s certainly not the deepest.”
The solar farm would sprawl over 15,000 kilometres, backed by a 10-gigawatt plant.
The Northern Territory Government recently granted ‘major project’ status with construction expected to start in 2023. Environmental approvals are pending.
“If we look at Asia, no-one wants to see forests cleared,” Mr Griffin said.
“In order to truly see an electrification of global economy and to see it done in a way that doesn’t lead to climate catastrophe, we need to be able to move huge volumes of renewable electricity over vast distances and this is the technology that’ll allow it to happen.”