Australia grants major status to AU$22bn solar, storage and transmission project

To quote my late friend Rex Mossop, “I was so incredulous I couldn’t believe it!”  This headline appeared today:

Australia grants major status to AU$22bn solar, storage and transmission project

  • A renewable energy project that could provide up to 20% of Singapore’s electricity needs has been fast tracked by the Australian government. 
  • Major Project Status has been granted to Sun Cable’s proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL), which would be one of the world’s largest dispatchable renewable electricity systems, supported by the “world’s largest battery and solar farm”, to be located in the Barkly region, Northern Territory.
  • The AU$22 billion (US$15.79 billion) project features a 4,500km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system connecting a 10GW solar / 30GWh storage facility near Darwin with Singapore and eventually Indonesia. 
  • By the end of 2027, Sun Cable predicts the AAPL will be able to export approximately AU$2 billion (US$1.44 billion) of solar energy per year to Singapore, connecting Australia into the ASEAN Power Grid. 
  • Major Project Status is the Australian government’s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to the country.
  • Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said granting of the status is a “significant milestone” for the AAPL, which will see Australia “become a world leader in renewable electricity trade”.
  • “This project is helping to grow a new industry, utilising intercontinental HVDC submarine transmission systems, to supply renewable electricity to major load centres in the Indo-Pacific and support the region’s low-emissions goals,” he added.
  • Founded in 2018 by Griffin, chief operating officer Mac Thompson and chief strategy officer Fraser Thompson, Sun Cable concluded a “significant capital raise” in November 2019, which included lead investment from Mike Cannon-Brookes’s Grok Ventures and Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy. 

30GWh storage facility

  • The AAPL solar PV plant is a 10GW array located close to Elliott in the Northern Territory. The site is located adjacent to existing logistics infrastructure, including a railway line, Stuart Highway and high capacity fibre optic cables. The associated 30GWh storage facility will support the solar farm’s operations, enabling round-the-clock power, Sun Cable said.
  • Electricity dispatched from the solar and storage facility will be transmitted to Darwin via a 750km transmission line. 
  • During construction, the AAPL project will create 1,500 construction jobs and 350 ongoing positions in Australia.
  • Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the development draws on Australia’s “world-class solar technology” to export renewable energy “on an unprecedented scale”.
  • “Not only will this power link make Australia a world leader, it will also create significant economic and employment opportunities here at home, with about AU$8 billion (US$5.74 billion) of the US$22 billion investment to be injected directly into Australia,” she added.

Please use this material which I have posted on Facebook

The only possible way to profit from this gigantic scam is from milking subsidies & tax benefits.
1. Australians call on the Prime Minister to guarantee that not one cent of public money will be committed to this major fraud.
2. I challenge Andrew Forrest AO to public debate on the merits or otherwise of this appalling scheme, the loser to donate ten percent of his net worth to a charity to be nominated by the winner.
3. Any government which endorses this scam deserves to be brought down.
4. Who will receive the greatest reward from the CCP for billions of dollars worth of useless solar panels?
5. Any fund manager who goes anywhere near this scam will be exposed.
6. Any individual who encourages any private investor to contribute will be committing an unconscionable crime.

7. The Pavakarda Solar Park in the South West-Indian State Karnataka (formerly Mysore) uses 53 square kilometres for a nameplate capacity of 2.05GW.  So for 10GW of nameplate capacity expect to use 259 square kilometres.

8.  We are told that a storage facility with the capacity of 30GWh will “enable round-the-clock power”.  The Highview liquid air battery with a capacity of 350MWh (nearly twice the capacity of the Tesla battery in South Australia) is being built near Manchester at a cost of A$148.25m, or A$0.593m per MWh.  At the same cost per MWh, a 30GW storage device will cost A$17.8bn. 

9.  A$17.8bn – for the claimed storage alone – is more than 80% of the A$22 bn touted as the total capital cost of the project (unless you are the Industry Minister who says the capital investment is US$22 bn, a truly trivial error as we shall see).

10. The revelation that the storage cost alone will be 80% of the whole budget should be enough to condemn this scam immediately.  It should be enough to get the Minister sacked, and should be enough to end the career of every journalist who failed to exert primary school arithmetic skills.  But it gets worse, much, much worse.

11. 30GWH provides three hours of backup for 10GW of generation capacity.  Others may make a better-informed assessment, but I estimate that guaranteeing genuine round-the-clock 10GW power will require sixty hours of backup, that is 600GWh. The cost of 600GWh of backup is $355.8bn. 

12. We have not yet costed 259 square kilometres of solar panels. We have not yet costed 750km of transmission line to Darwin.  We have not yet costed the underwater extension cord to Singapore.  We have not costed the insurance premiums required to protect the project from claims from customers when the extension cord is severed by an undersea volcano. We have not yet costed the worldwide risk to health of the plague of hysterical laughter when the world reads this.

13. Perhaps readers imagine that the total destruction of this appalling scam is complete. No, there is still worse to come.

14. At the very best, 10GW of nameplate solar power will provide 10GW for only 40% of the time. Let’s accept that we are dealing with 100 units of time, and for 60 units of that time we need stored power.  But because stored power is subject to losses, we need to generate enough stored power to cater for 75 units of time, knowing that 20% will be lost.  So 10GW nameplate solar power, supported by whatever (hang the expense) backup is required, can be expected to provide (40 divided by 115 multiplied by ten) 3.478GW of continuous power.  10GW divided by 3.478GW is 2.875.

15.  Out of sheer politeness we won’t deduct anything for the inevitable transmission losses, probably around 1% per 100km for HVDC.

16. If you want to sell 10GW of reliable power, you need nameplate capacity 2.875 times 10GW, which is 28.75GW, involving a capital investment in backup alone of A$1,023bn. That is more than ONE TRILLION dollars just for the backup, with 750 square kilometres of useless solar panels built in China perhaps by slave labour using materials mined in Africa very likely with slave labour.

17. What is a rational capital cost for supplying 3.5GW of reliable energy (exceeding the reliable energy expectation of 3.478GW described in 14. above)?   As reported on 5 April 2020 Poland is planning to invest in nuclear reactors at US$4,500 per Kw or at today’s rate A$6,264 per Kw. That puts the capital cost of nuclear electricity generation at A$6.264m per MW or A$6.264bn per GW.  For 3.5GW of safe reliable continuous nuclear energy, the capital cost is A$21.924bn, coincidentally slightly less than the A$22bn falsely claimed by the backers of the extension cord project.

18. According to, the capital cost of a coal fired power station is around US$3,500 per Kw or A$4,872 per Kw. That puts the capital cost of coal fired electricity generation at A$4.872m per MW or A$6.264bn per GW. For 3.5GW of safe reliable continuous coal powered electricity, the capital cost is A$17.052bn, significantly less than A$22bn.

19.  Do not imagine that outlook could not be blacker for the dream project which, as  Minister Karen Andrews gushed, draws on Australia’s “world-class solar technology” to export renewable energy “on an unprecedented scale”.  The comprehensive demolition of this malign fantasy and the exposure of its uncompromisingly fraudulent nature is not complete.

18. The electricity needs of Singapore can be well and cost-effectively served by nuclear or coal-fired power generation without any of the enormous environmental harm inherent in the extension cord project.   A vitally import additional piece of information must be added.  A coal fired or nuclear power station will operate safely and reliably for more than fifty years. In that time each will have produced and delivered at least seven times as much energy as was involved in all aspects of construction and decommissioning.  In the unlikely event that it is ever completed, the proposed gigantic solar farm excrescence will function for a maximum for fifteen years.  In all probability, during that fifteen years the extension cord  project will have delivered less energy that will have been required for construction and decommissioning.  The world’s available energy will likely have been reduced.  And the profiteers will have been enriched even if not one KWh reaches Singapore.

19.  Like Snowy Hydro, like all subsidies to unreliable energy, like the submarine project, this unspeakably irresponsible plan must be stopped.  The Minister should resign and her staff should be ungently removed from any opportunity to exert influence.  And the Prime Minister should apologise.

Kindest regards