An outback cattle station in the Northern Territory is set to house the world’s largest solar farm, with an estimated price tag of $20 billion, the 10,000 square-kilometer solar farm is expected to send power to Singapore, as well as powering the NT.
The news comes from Sun Cable, whose Chief Executive, David Griffin, has confirmed that the $20 billion, 10-gigawatt solar farm project has been designed to provide renewable energy for the country of Singapore, as well as for the Northern Territory.
The site, Newcastle Waters is roughly halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs in the south, and is expected to be visible from space when fully constructed due to its 12,000 hectares worth of photovoltaic solar cells.
If approved, the Newcastle Waters solar farm would be close to three-times bigger than the current largest solar farm record holder in China.
Mr Griffin has said that Sun Cable has submitted its application to the Northern Territory’s Environmental Protection Authority, and construction of the world’s largest solar farm, if approved, is set to take place in 2023, with energy production scheduled for 2026.
After this, the project is expected to send electricity to Singapore by 2027.
Electricity generated at the solar farm will be transported to Darwin via traditional overhead power lines and enter the Northern Territory’s electricity grid, however, two-thirds of the electricity generated is expected to be exported to Singapore via undersea cables.
Sun Cable says that these high-voltage undersea cables will feed Singapore with more than one-fifth of its electricity needs, as the country looks to divest its energy production away from fossil fuel-based production to meet environmental goals.
Sun Cable’s David Griffin has told The Guardian that the site’s location is “far south enough to get away from the main patch affected by the wet season, so it’s a steady solar resource throughout the year… there’s plenty of sun and not many clouds,” while adding that the site is “really ideal for construction of a solar farm as it’s extremely flat.”
Griffin added that “it’s on the Adelaide to Darwin rail corridor, which is brilliant for our logistics given the enormous amount of material we’ll have to transport to the site,” which is roughly 30 kilometers from the Stuart Highway.
A spokesperson for Sun Cable has added that the company is “excited to enter the next phase of the development process for the Australia-Singapore Power Link,” adding that “the Northern Territory is proving to be a great jurisdiction to work in.”
“We look forward to advancing the project with the Northern Territory Government’s support.”
Mr Griffin expects the project will create 1,500 jobs, as well as 10,000 indirect jobs while constructing the site, and around 350 full-time employment opportunities once the site is up and running.
The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner has said that “the Sun Cable project is a gamechanger for the Territory and will further our reputation around the world as a place to do business and invest.”
“Not only does it announce the Territory as a major world player for renewable energy exports, but also a future where clean, cheap, reliable energy creates local jobs in industries right across the Territory,” Minister Gunner said. “We have the guaranteed cloud free days, the land and a government with the vision, plan and will to make it happen.”
“We look forward to continuing to work with Sun Cable to make this project a reality,” he concluded.