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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Australia-Asia PowerLink

Darwin, Australia
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Exporting renewable energy on a historic scale

Reaching net zero by 2050 requires a ten-fold increase in the amount of renewable electricity we are currently using – and global demand is only set to grow. In Southeast Asia, where coal and gas are the dominant fuel source, demand for energy is expected to rise 60% by 2040, making the generation of affordable and reliable clean power even more critical on the region’s path to net zero emissions.

Sun Cable will help meet this growing demand by developing the world’s first intercontinental power grid transmitting solar energy from Australia to Singapore, boosting both nations’ economies and hastening the energy transition.

About the project

As one of the world’s largest renewable infrastructure projects, AAPowerLink will include:

  • The world’s largest solar farm (17-20 GWp);
  • The world’s largest battery system (36-42 GWh);
  • A 5,000 km high voltage direct current transmission system, 4,200 km of which will be an undersea HVDC cable.

Its total carbon emissions reduction is about 8.6 million tonnes per year, and it will have the capacity to supply up to 15% of Singapore’s electricity needs – matching the country’s entire 2030 climate reduction target.  

AAPowerLink will also support Australia’s Northern Territory’s goal to develop an AUD40 billion economy by 2030.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024. The city of Darwin will receive the first supply of electricity, anticipated in 2026, while Singapore will receive its first supply the following year. By the end of 2028, AAPowerLink will be at full capacity.

The Integrated Project Delivery Team, announced on October 20, will be comprised of Bechtel, Hatch, Marsh, PwC Australia, and SMEC (Surbana Jurong Group). While Bechtel will cover project delivery, Hatch is focused on the HVDC transmission, Marsh on risk management, PwC on project advisory, and SMEC on the solar generation system.

Building an industry

To reduce carbon emissions and help achieve net zero, both Australia and Singapore have policies in place to support increased renewable power generation. While the Northern Territory is undertaking energy market reform with its Roadmap to Renewables plan, the Singapore Energy Market Authority announced its 4 Switches policy in 2019, which requires renewable electricity imports. Currently, Singapore relies on gas for 95% of its generation.

Sun Cable’s AAPowerlink will support both governments’ energy transition goals while transforming the region’s economy by developing a renewables export and import industry. The project will also lead to increased investment opportunities, thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities in Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and the growth of clean energy industries and technologies.

As the world’s highest per capita solar resource in the G20 and the second highest in the world, Australia is uniquely positioned to export large volumes of affordable renewable energy, worth up to AUD2 billion per year for the economy.

Consulting with the community

To minimize environmental and social impacts, Sun Cable is consulting with First Nations people and paying their respect to the communities, stakeholders, and traditional owners of the land where AAPowerLink will operate. These areas range from Powell Creek in Queensland, Australia to the Timor Sea and the proposed subsea cable route and network infrastructure in Indonesia and Singapore.

First-and-only technologies

AAPowerLink will transmit dispatchable renewable electricity from a 12,000 hectare, (120 square km), solar farm in the Barkley Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore markets.

Key components of the project include:

  • A solar farm district including energy storage and voltage source converter (VSC);
  • A high voltage direct current (HVDC) overhead transmission line (OHTL) from the solar farm to Darwin;
  • VSCs and a utility-scale battery in Darwin;
  • A subsea HVDC cable system from Darwin to Singapore; and
  • A VSC and utility-scale battery in Singapore.