Massive renewable energy and transmission project in NT progresses

Monica Gameng   |   June 30, 2022
Proposed largest solar farm (cr: Sun Cable)

The more than $30 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) project in the Northern Territory has advanced to Stage 3 ‘Investment-ready’ status on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List. 

Reaching the Stage 3 status means that the project has met the requirements of the priority list and is now investment ready after years of commitment, ground work and progress from the Territory Labor Government as well as the project’s stakeholders. 

“Today’s announcement by Infrastructure Australia affirms that the AAPowerLink is investment ready, it is economically viable and it will deliver significant benefits for Australia and our region. 

“The AAPowerLink will enable a stronger economy for the long term through contracts, wages and economic diversification. It will spur enhanced capacity and skills in the construction and technology sectors as a result of jobs and training over the lifetime of the project, and pave the way for new green industries to be established, and to thrive,” Sun Cable Founder and CEO David Griffin said. 

The Northern Territory Government has shown its support for this massive energy project from the very beginning. The AAPowerLink has been given the Major Project Status in 2019 and has passed the facilitating project legislation in May 2022, further pushing this project forward. 

 

The multi-billion-dollar project will comprise of the world’s largest solar farm and storage system as well as the longest transmission system that will transmit renewable electricity from the Barkly region to Darwin and Singapore. 

In addition, AAPowerLink is anticipated to inject $8 billion of investment into Australia along with $2 billion in expected annual export revenues from 2028. 

The project is also expected to deliver significant benefits to Australia such as 800MW of zero carbon electricity for Northern Australia to support the prospective industrial loads as well as 2.6 million tonnes of estimated carbon emissions abatement. 

“The Australia-Asia PowerLink will be built here in the Territory. It will be a major economic driver, and it will put the Territory on the international map when it comes to renewables. 

“The Australia-Asia PowerLink will transform the Territory into a renewable energy powerhouse and establish a new energy export industry for Australia, with positive flow on benefits for businesses,” Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said. 

AAPowerLink will generate thousands of jobs as well – up to 14,000 direct and indirect jobs – and most of it will be in Australia. This includes: 

  • 120 jobs during project development 
  • 1,750 direct jobs during construction 
  • 350 jobs during operation 
  • 12,000 indirect jobs 

 

Infrastructure Australia first recognised the AAPowerLink project when it was included in the Infrastructure Priority List 2021, noting the project’s significant opportunity “to harness the Northern Territory’s competitive advantage by developing large-scale, dispatchable renewable energy generation” that is supported by infrastructure to transmit electricity to domestic and export markets. 

“The Territory Labor Government is aiming for a $40 billion economy by 2030 to accelerate jobs and population growth. Projects like Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink are exactly the sorts of projects which will help us get there. 

“Sun Cable’s $30+ billion project will position the Territory as a renewable energy powerhouse. The Territory is the best place to do business in Australia, and the new project legislation proves that. 

“The Territory Government welcomes today’s Infrastructure Australia announcement. Sun Cable’s project will position the Territory as a renewable energy powerhouse – powering Territory industries with Territory sunshine, creating new permanent jobs, and establishing a new export industry,” Chief Minister of The Northern Territory Natasha Fyles said. 

Sun Cable, the project developer, is expecting AAPowerLink to reach financial close by the beginning of 2024. 

Construction on the more than $30 billion project will commence in 2024 and AAPowerLink is anticipated to begin supplying electricity to Darwin in 2027, with full operational capacity in 2029. 

Source: Northern Territory Government Newsroom; Sun Cable (1, 2); The Straits Times; Power Technology 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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