Success of proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link crucial to make Australia solar energy super-power, says GlobalData

Australia granted a ‘Major Project’ status to Sun Cable’s US$15.8bn proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) that could mark Australia as the leading exporter of power generation from solar PV. The venture highlights a 4,500km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission framework, connecting a 10GW solar and 30GWh storage facility near Darwin, Australia, with Singapore. The power link will enable Australia to manage the solar power intermittency in the grid and help Singapore to improve the  share of renewable energy in the generation mix from a mere 4.0% at present, to about 20% by 2027, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Ankit Mathur, Practice Head of Power at GlobalData, comments: “The global solar atlas reflects that the southeast Asian region features a low specific yield ranging between approximately 1300-1400kWh/kWp, whereas sunniest places in Australia have a specific yield of over 1700 kWh/kWp. Consequently, Australia has the ingredients that could make it one of the world’s largest generator and exporter of solar energy. This venture, in line with the nation’s renewable energy export approach, would be a new milestone of energy symbiosis within the countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Oceania corridor.”

GlobalData estimates that Australia will witness exponential growth in the solar PV capacity by the end of 2030 with an impressive CAGR of 11.3% and more than tripling the solar PV capacity from 13GW to 40GW. By the end of 2027, Sun Cable predicts the AAPL to export around AU$2bn (US$1.44bn) of solar energy per year to Singapore, connecting Australia into the ASEAN Power Grid.

Mathur concludes: “Apart from showcasing Australia’s solar PV strength to the world and fortifying its energy storage segment, the project is predicted to create significant employment opportunities. During construction itself, the project is estimated to create 1500 construction  jobs.

“A comparative idea had been in the development phase, initially in the form of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub. It was initially planned to construct a subsea cable to supply Indonesia with green power generated at massive 15GW solar and wind farms situated in Pilbara, Australia. However, due to cost overruns, the idea wasn’t pursued. The AAPL project too is clouded with technical and economic challenges, however, if it becomes a success, then this could be a game changer for the oceanic country and power landscape in the region.”

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