Plans to build the world's largest solar plant in the Australia desert, and use it to help power Singapore, have taken a significant step forward after winning Major Project Status from the Northern Territory government.
NT chief minister Michael Gunner said on Saturday that his government would begin negotiations on a Project Development Agreement with developer Sun Cable, to kickstart development of the proposed 10GW solar farm and 20-30GWh storage facility near Tennant Creek.
Gunner said the PDA would provide the framework for Sun Cable and the NT government to progress the $20 billion Australia-Singapore Power Link through the required approvals processes – starting with an Environmental Impact Statement and a Territory Benefit Plan.
As we have reported, the ASPL aims to supply renewable electricity to Darwin and Singapore via a high voltage direct current transmission – a plan first outlined by Beyond Zero Emissions last month,
and which quickly attracted the attention of investment heavyweights including Mike Cannon-Brookes' Grok Ventures.
See The 10GW solar vision that could turn Northern Territory into economic powerhouse
and listen to our Energy Insiders Podcast with BZE's Eytan Lenko.
The NT government says integrating the huge solar farm into the developing ASEAN power grid will also be assessed in the detail during the development phase. There are also hopes that the resource can underpin local manafacturing and industry.
It says the project has the potential to create 1000 jobs during the construction phase, and 300 ongoing operational jobs.
'Major Project Status for Sun Cable is an important step towards making this vision a reality,' Gunner said in a statement.
'The Sun Cable project is a game changer for the Territory and will further our reputation around the world as a place to do business and invest.
'Not only does it announce the Territory as a major world player for renewable energy exports, but also a future where clean, cheap, reliable energy creates local jobs in industries right across the Territory.
'We look forward to continuing to work with Sun Cable to make this project a reality.'
Sun Cable said it is excited to enter the next phase of the development process for the Australia-Singapore Power Link.
“The Northern Territory is proving to be a great jurisdiction to work in. We look forward to advancing the project with the Northern Territory Government's support.'