Project at a glance
Respect for Communities in Which We Operate
Sun Cable will consult and work with the communities in which we operate to identify and create benefits for the region.
We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the land where our project will operate. In the Northern Territory this is from Powell Creek to the Arafura Sea and all the land in between.
The Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) is proposed to be a high-capacity solar generation, storage and transmission system that will transmit 3.2GW of 24/7 renewable electricity from the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore.
The project comprises the following six key components:
- Powell Creek Solar Precinct in the Barkly Region of the NT where electricity will be generated, stored, and transmitted
- Overhead Transmission Line to transmit electricity over 788 km from the Solar Precinct to Darwin
- Darwin Converter Site including Voltage Source Converters, energy storage and network connection to supply electricity to the Darwin region located at Murrumujuk approximately 31 km north-east of Darwin
- Cable Transition Facilities at Gunn Point Beach to transition power cables between land and sea
- Subsea Cable System to transfer electricity over 4,200 km from Darwin to Singapore
- Singapore Converter Station to receive electricity and supply the Singapore electrical network.
The Solar Precinct is located at Powell Creek Station, approximately 70 km south-west of Elliott and 30 km west of the Stuart Highway, adjacent to the Alice-Springs-Darwin railway line. The Solar Precinct will occupy approximately 12,000 hectares of land, with an additional 269 hectares for two access roads to the Stuart Highway. The Solar Precinct will have a peak generation capacity of approximately 17-20 GW, and will comprise multiple large-scale solar and storage fields of modular photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays and battery storage. Key components include solar arrays, medium and high voltage transmission lines for internal reticulation, distributed Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), Voltage Source Converters (VSCs) and associated electrical infrastructure including, but not limited to, transformers, inverters and a switch yard.
Supporting infrastructure includes access roads, an Intermodal Logistics Facility which will include a dedicated rail logistics yard including several parallel rail sidings which are approximately 2.5 km in length, service and utilities, accommodation camp, and ancillary infrastructure (e.g. temporary borrow pits, potential landfill, security and communications infrastructure, water and wastewater treatment infrastructure).
The Solar Precinct is planned to be constructed and commissioned over a period of approximately 2.5 - 4 years commencing in early 2024. Construction will require a workforce of approximately 1,000 personnel, who will be accommodated onsite, and will involve site establishment, land clearing, and installation of electrical infrastructure. Ongoing operational activities will include monitoring and maintenance to maintain system performance and is anticipated to employ approximately 200 personnel. The components may need to be replaced or repowered with the solar panels having an optimal design life of approximately 40 years and the batteries approximately 15 years. Sun Cable will investigate recycling opportunities or repurpose infrastructure such as solar arrays to minimise waste associated with the proposal.
Overhead Transmission Line
A new High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Overhead Transmission Line (OHTL) will be constructed over 788 km to transmit electricity from the Solar Precinct to the Darwin Converter Site. The OHTL will have a rated capacity of approximately 6.4 GW operating at a voltage of 525 - 600 kV, subject to detailed engineering. From the Solar Precinct the route follows an existing Railway Corridor for a distance of 722 km, after which the route enters an NT Government designated Utilities Corridor for the final 66 km to the Darwin Converter Site located at Murrumujuk, Gunn Point.
Key components include steel poles, HVDC conductors (powerlines), services corridor and a metallic earth return (MER) or ground electrode at each converter location. The construction footprint (i.e. cleared footprint) will be an OHTL corridor of up to 22 m wide, and pads around each pole up to 100 m x 60 m. Following construction, the majority of the footprint will be reinstated except for an access corridor approximately 6 m wide and a 12 m x 6 m pad around each pole retained for maintenance activities.
Construction of the OHTL is planned to commence in early 2024 and be completed over a period of 2-3 years. Construction will require a workforce of approximately 460 people. Personnel will be accommodated in temporary construction camps located at locations along the OHTL and commercial accommodation in towns along the route where available (e.g. Katherine, Pine Creek, Adelaide River). Operational activities will include maintenance inspections and repairs and will be managed by personnel travelling from Darwin or other centres to undertake works.
Darwin Converter Site
The Darwin Converter Site is proposed to be located at Murrumujuk, Gunn Point, 31 km north-east of Darwin. The site is 124 hectares, of which approximate 55 hectares is proposed to be developed. The Darwin Converter Site is the terminal location for the OHTL and will convert electricity from HVDC to High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) to enable a portion of the renewable energy, 750MW, shall be imported to Darwin customers and the rest converted back to HVDC for transmission to Singapore via the Subsea Cable System.
Key components include up to four VSCs to convert power between HVDC and HVAC, a BESS, an Operations and Maintenance Facility (e.g. offices, car park, warehousing, communications and utilities infrastructure) and ancillary infrastructure including drainage and internal access roads.
Construction is planned to commence in early 2024 and will require a workforce of approximately 230 personnel (including personnel required for the Cable Transition Facilities). Construction is expected to take approximately 2.5 years for both the Darwin Converter Site and Cable Transition Facilities. Operational and maintenance activities will require approximately 150 personnel. Both the construction and operational workforce will be transported from Darwin or surrounds from a designated park and ride facility; no onsite accommodation will be provided.
Cable Transition Facilities
The Cable Transition Facilities transfer power from onshore to offshore, and comprise the Underground Cable Corridor, Land Sea Joint Station and Shore Crossing Site. The combined footprint is 19 hectares, and extends from the Darwin Converter Site to the southern end of Gunn Point Beach.
The Underground Cable Corridor is approximately 2.7 km long and 70 m wide and will run parallel to the south of Murrumujuk Drive. Within this corridor trenching will be undertaken for burial of HVDC cables. The corridor will be partially cleared for cable installation, and reinstated once construction is complete. No operational activities will be undertaken within the corridor, except for reinstatement monitoring and management (e.g. weed management).
The Land Sea Joint station will be a fenced 1.5 ha area located approximately 300 m inland from the beach, within which the onshore and offshore cables will be connected. Six bays (one per cable) will be excavated to dimensions of 20 m x 5 m. Temporary construction infrastructure will be located within the site, and once construction is completed the land surrounding the bays will be reinstated. No operational activities will be undertaken, except for reinstatement monitoring and management.
The Shore Crossing Site is located immediately to the south of the current Gunn Point Beach access track, where a temporary construction corridor approximately 500 m wide and 500 m long will be established for burial of cables in the beach and intertidal area. The entire footprint will be reinstated following construction and there will be no restriction on public access or use of the beach following construction (which will take approximately one month).
Subsea Cable System
A High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Subsea Cable System will be installed to transfer electricity over approximately 4,200 km from Darwin to Singapore. The components within NT and Commonwealth waters, consist of:
- Nearshore: Northern Territory coastal waters, which consist of the waters from Lowest Astronomic Tide (LAT) outwards by 3 nautical miles (5.55 km) and includes the Beagle Gulf.
- Offshore: Commonwealth marine area, which extends from the boundary of the NT coastal waters to the edge of the continental shelf and includes the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (AEEZ).
The length of the Subsea Cable System to the limit of the Commonwealth marine area is approximately 895 km. Two route options are under consideration in the nearshore area. Up to six cables will be laid over the life of the project. The cables will either be laid on the seafloor or trenched into the seabed generally to a depth between 0.3 - 1 m (in certain circumstances it may be necessary to bury to 3 m depth), or protected with armouring as required, subject to various hazards and sea floor conditions along the route.
Construction will require a workforce of up to 60 personnel and will require pre-installation work (survey, presweeping, boulder clearance, UXO clearing, route clearance and pre-grapnel), cable laying, cable jointing, burial and post lay survey. Works will be undertaken with specialist vessels, such as a cable lay vessel and cable lay barge, and are expected to take approximately two months per cable (within Australian waters).
Integrated Project Delivery Team (IPDT)
In October 2021, Sun Cable appointed a global team of highly skilled experts to deliver the AAPowerlink. The IPDT consists of Bechtel, Hatch, Marsh, PwC Australia and SMEC (a member of the Surbana Jurong Group):
- Project Delivery: Bechtel, one of the world's most respected engineering, construction and project management companies;
- HVDC Transmission: Hatch, a global engineering, project management, and professional services company, and leader in complex engineering solutions;
- Risk Management: Marsh, the world's leading insurance broker and risk advisor;
- Project Advisory: PwC Australia, part of the PwC global network, delivering financial advisory, legal, consulting and assurance professional services, comprising an integrated infrastructure offering; and
- Solar Generation System: SMEC, a global specialist engineering and design consultancy, and member of the Surbana Jurong Group, a provider of best-in-class infrastructure development solutions.
Outlined below are key milestones and achievements of the project.
- July 2019 - Northern Territory Government grants the AAPowerLink Major Project Status
- July 2020 - Australian Commonwealth Government Major Project Status
- February 2021 - Infrastructure Australia Priority Listing
- September 2021 - Announcement of Support from Indonesia
- October 2021 - Formed the Integrated Project Delivery Team (IPDT) to deliver the AAPowerLink
- March 2022 - Lodged their draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the AAPowerLink to the NT EPA.
- March 31, 2022 - The NT Government issued a Bill to make special provision in connection with the AAPowerLink to ensure certainty of the project through dis-applying sections of the Crown Lands Act 1992.
- March 2022 - completed a AUD210 million Series B capital raise with existing shareholders to fund the development work of the AAPowerLink and progress the Company's portfolio of multi gigawatt generation and transmission projects.
- June 2022 - Infrastructure Australia affirmed AAPowerLink's economic merit, advancing the project to Stage 3 'Investment-ready' status on the Infrastructure Priority List.
Register for updates
Sun Cable is committed to maximising local industry and Indigenous participation during the development and ongoing operations of AAPowerLink. Project updates will be periodically communicated via ICN Gateway to those with registered expressions of interest.
To ensure you receive updates regarding this project, please register your interest against the 'any updates' package below.
International businesses with no Australian location are requested to register directly with Sun Cable here
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