Administrators from FTI Consulting have issued a statement confirming that the consortium led by tech magnate Cannon-Brookes’ private investment company Grok Ventures has been successful in acquiring the collapsed Sun Cable energy business and its assets.
Sun Cable, which has plans to build up to 20 GW of solar and 42 GWh of energy storage in the Northern Territory that would link to Singapore via a 4,200-kilometre underwater cable, was plunged into voluntary administration earlier this year.
The move was triggered by a disagreement between Cannon-Brookes and mining magnate Andrew Forrest, Sun Cable’s two biggest investors, over the future direction of the company’s estimated $35 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) venture.
Squadron Energy, part of Forrest’s private Tattarang Group, no longer supported building the cable to link the project’s renewable energy to Singapore, favouring instead a plan for the clean energy output to be used domestically.
Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of software giant Atlassian, had however declared his support for Sun Cable’s original plan, including the power link to Asia, and he described the acquisition of the company as “a big step in the right direction.”
“We’ve always believed in the possibilities Sun Cable presents in exporting our boundless sunshine, and what it could mean for Australia,” he said in a statement. “It’s time to stretch our country’s ambition. We need to take big swings if we are going to be a renewable energy superpower. So swing we will.”
Grok said it would now work alongside its investment partners and management to deliver on Sun Cable’s ambitious renewable energy projects.
“Sun Cable has the potential to be a nation-building project for Australia, generating and transmitting critical clean energy to Singapore and supply renewable energy to new Northern Territory industries,” the company said.
“We believe Sun Cable can achieve long-term success by delivering globally competitive electrons to Australia and the world. We will continue to pursue customer off-take agreements in Singapore and Darwin and collaborate with the Singaporean and Northern Territory governments to achieve this mission.”
“We are excited to do this with a group of old and new investors to Sun Cable, who bring significant experience to renewables project delivery, and who will assist management.”
Grok said the consortium will “deep dive” with Sun Cable management over the coming weeks and would have more to say about the design and development priorities of the Sun Cable project moving forward.
David Scaysbrook, Australian-based co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, said the company is pleased to have supported Grok in the successful acquisition of Sun Cable and is well positioned to help deliver the AAPowerLink venture, which he described as “a visionary undertaking by any measure.”
“Quinbrook is one of the world’s leading investors in the sustainable infrastructure needed to drive the energy transition and brings considerable experience in the successful development of innovative, mega-scale renewables projects around the world,” he said. “With construction well underway on the largest solar+storage projects ever undertaken in the U.S. and the U.K., it is well positioned to assist Grok to complete the development of what promises to be not only one of the largest renewables projects in Australia, but a project of global significance.”
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