Australia preparing to build the world’s largest solar farm to help power Singapore

The desert landscape in Tennant Creek, a remote part of the Northern Territory of Australia, is barren and forbidding, devoid of life or activity. But it appears that could change in the very near future if a group of investors have their way and succeed in building what would be the biggest solar farm on the planet.

According to The Guardian:

“Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock.

“Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state’s electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power.”

Though it will take at least four years to get all of the financing in place for the ambitious project, environmentalists are encouraged by the fact that the focus is turning from finding new sources of fossil fuels to renewables on a scale never before seen. As Ross Garnaut, former adviser to Labor governments who is now professor of economics at the University of Melbourne, notes:

“This will be the channel through which production of energy in Australia will greatly reduce emissions in the rest of the world. It will also be a foundation for a new era of economic expansion and prosperity.”

David Griffin, Sun Cable’s chief executive, says what makes his company’s idea so revolutionary is how the electricity will be sent from Australia to Singapore: Via high-voltage, direct-current submarine cable:

“It is extraordinary technology that is going to change the flow of energy between countries. It is going to have profound implications and the extent of those implications hasn’t been widely identified.

“If you have the transmission of electricity over very large distances between countries, then the flow of energy changes from liquid fuels – oil and LNG – to electrons. Ultimately, that’s a vastly more efficient way to transport energy. The incumbents just won’t be able to compete.”

Cleaner, cheaper energy. That’s what the entire world is looking for.

Australia is also branching out into producing and exporting hydrogen as an alternative to coal and natural gas:

“The hydrogen would be sold domestically and exported, most likely to Japan and South Korea, which have expressed a desire to shift energy consumption in that direction. Dickson says producing green hydrogen at large volumes could open up possibilities such as using it to replace coking coal in steel production. It could allow an expanded version of the “green steel” model adopted in Whyalla by British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta.”

If other major powers in the Western world would also follow the lead of the Aussies, just imagine the possibilities when it comes to meeting the ever-expanding energy needs of the planet while reducing out carbon footprint at the same time.

 

Featured Image Via Pixabay

 

 

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Andrew Bradford
 

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