Quinbrook to target domestic market with Sun Cable project


After teaming with tech magnate Mike Cannon-Brookes’ private investment vehicle Grok Ventures to take control of the world’s biggest intercontinental solar and storage project, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners said its initial focus will be on the domestic components of Sun Cable’s massive renewable energy project.

Sun Cable is seeking to develop a giant solar and battery energy storage complex on a 12,000-hectare site at Powell Creek in the Northern Territory’s (NT) Barkly region. The Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) project, backed by Australia’s federal and Northern Territory governments, includes a 17-20 GW solar farm and a 36-42 GWh battery storage development.

The project is to supply power to Darwin and to Singapore via a 4,500-kilometre high-voltage direct-current transmission network, including a 750km overhead transmission line from the solar farm to Darwin where approximately 800 MW of the solar farm’s output will provide for private industry offtake. The rest is to be exported to Singapore via a 3,800km subsea cable system.

David Scaysbrook, Australian-based co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, said the “bare bones of the project look really attractive” but his firm, behind the largest solar and storage projects being delivered in the United States and the United Kingdom, is focused on the delivery of the solar farm and transmission line to Darwin as part of what could be a staged approach.

“We’ve got a good handle on the likely build cost for the onshore renewables part, given that’s kind of what we do for a living,” he said. “I don’t get carried away with all of the tags about this being the biggest renewables project in the world.”

“Where we feel we can add value is to bring the optimum project solution to the onshore renewables component of Sun Cable, and that makes really a lot of sense because at the end of the day getting the cheapest optimum solution into Darwin is mission critical.”

Scaysbrook said if solar can be delivered to Darwin at a globally competitive price, then it could help underwrite the export of renewable energy into Singapore and into other energy-intensive projects.

“With a project of this scale, you can deliver enough renewables into Darwin to do domestic green hydrogen manufacture. And you could also export enough of the power up to Singapore that was sort of bandied around as the amount that Singapore would want,” he said.

Quinbrook, which joined with Grok to acquire Sun Cable out of administration last week, said it will look to bring in additional investors from Europe, the UK, the US and Canada as it develops the Sun Cable project.

“This will be a United Nations of global capital represented investing in these projects,” Scaysbrook said.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners is pleased to be involved in the world’s largest renewables project.

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