solar farm
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
October 23, 2020 ·  2 min read

World’s Largest Solar Farm to Be Built in Australia – But They Won’t Get The Power

The world’s largest solar farm is currently in the preliminary stages and is to be built close to the heart of the Australian Outback. The twist? The energy produced from that farm isn’t going to power Australia, it’s going to be shuttled across the ocean to Singapore.

The World’s Largest Solar Farm Coming to the Outback

The location for the world’s largest solar farm, known as the Australian-ASEAN or Australia-Singapore Power Link, has been revealed. The AUD$20 billion ($14.23B USD) solar farm will be built in the Northern Territory about halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs at a remote cattle station. (1)

The farm will contain 20,000 football fields’ worth of photovoltaic panels and take up approximately 120 square kilometers or nearly 50 square miles. (1)

The World’s Longest Power Cable

This project is ticking off more than one world record: They aren’t just building the world’s largest solar farm, but also the world’s longest submarine power cable. (1)

This cable will transport the electricity generated by the solar panels all the way to Singapore. This high-voltage direct current (HVDC) network will cover a distance of 4,500 km (2,800 miles).

As if two records weren’t enough, this project will also require the world’s largest battery in order for the transmission system to work. Singaporean company Sun Cable is developing the Power Link battery. (1)

These undersea cables will be installed along the ocean bed, passing first through Indonesian waters before reaching their final destination. Darwin will use some of the generated electricity locally, but the majority will be sent across the ocean. (1)

The grid will provide 1 million Singaporeans (approximately 20% of their population) with power. Eventually, they will extend this to parts of Indonesia as well. (1)

Read: Secretive Energy Startup Backed by Bill Gates Achieves Solar Breakthrough.

The Largest Solar Farm Requires Long-Term Planning

This is, of course, not a project that can be achieved in a short period of time. 

First, they must obtain certain approvals. This includes environmental assessments of the land. Once they have those approvals, construction will begin in 2023. It will take another three years before they have energy production in 2026, with the first exported electricity making the journey to Singapore in 2027. (1)

010 solar farm 2
Solar Farm Rendering. Image
Credit: Sun Cable

An Important Moment For the Future Of Renewable Energy

The Power Link could be a defining moment for solar power and green energy. It proves how efficiently and cleanly energy can be shared between nations and across oceans. According to Sun Cable CEO David Griffin, this technology could change the way energy flows between countries. (1)

“If you have the transmission of electricity over very large distances between countries, then the flow of energy changes from liquid fuels – oil and LNG – to electrons. Ultimately, that’s a vastly more efficient way to transport energy. The incumbents just won’t be able to compete.” (1)

While it will still be several years before this project comes to fruition, it is still an exciting moment in the green energy industry. If the Power Link is successful, it could be the catalyst for a major shift in how we power the world.

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