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Sun Cable scales up plans for world’s biggest solar farm with Indonesian help

Sun Cable, the energy company backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has scaled up plans for the world’s biggest solar farm by as much as 40 per cent and secured key support from the Indonesian government.

The company announced on Thursday that the size of the Powell Creek Solar Precinct planned for the Northern Territory to supply Darwin and Singapore would now be 17-20 gigawatts (GW) in capacity, up from the previous plan of 14GW. The associated storage system has also been lifted in size to 36-42 GW-hours from an earlier goal of 30GW-hours.

Solar panels developed by Sydney-based 5B could be deployed in Sun Cable’s planned giant solar farm in the Northern Territory to supply Darwin and Singapore with low cost and zero-emissions electricity.

Solar panels developed by Sydney-based 5B could be deployed in Sun Cable’s planned giant solar farm in the Northern Territory to supply Darwin and Singapore with low cost and zero-emissions electricity. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

In the process, the project’s estimated cost has also increased to about $30 billion, up from $22 billion.

“It’s an important step forward. It’s all driven by some really positive developments from both customer demand and technological enhancements,” David Griffin, chief executive of Sun Cable, told the Herald and The Age, adding that both the solar farm and storage system “will obviously be the largest in the world”.

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The release of details about the larger project coincided with Sun Cable also announcing it had secured support from Indonesia for early work on preparing to lay the cable linking Darwin to Singapore to pass through the Indonesian archipelago.

Luhut Binsar Panjaitain, Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment welcomed Sun Cable’s operation in Indonesia and confirmed that his government had granted it a subsea survey permit and recommended the transmission route, according to a statement from Sun Cable.

“Sun Cable is greatly appreciative of the support from the Indonesian government and looks forward to a long-term relationship with Indonesia,” it said.

“As part of building the [Australia-Asia] PowerLink [between Darwin and Singapore], Sun Cable will drive investment and jobs in Indonesia, share knowledge, and support Indonesian manufacturing.”

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