Sun Cable, the enormous solar energy power plant that will link the Northern Territory to Southeast Asia, is a step closer to becoming a reality with independent government advisor Infrastructure Australia labelling the project as “investment ready”.

The ambitious $30 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink project will become the biggest solar generation and transmission link in the world, generating power from an outback site 800km south of Darwin and sending it as far north as Indonesia and Singapore via an undersea cable.

With the backing of Australian billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, the project is now set to forge ahead raising the huge capital needed to bring it to life.

With Macquarie Capital, Moelis & Company and MA Financial Group appointed as joint financial advisers to advise, structure, arrange and execute the capital raising strategy for the construction of the Australia-Asia PowerLink, and with Infrastructure Australia now also supporting it, the likelihood of Sun Cable getting funds from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund is significantly increased.

The Australia-Asia PowerLink is expected to reach financial close by the start of 2024, with construction to commence in the same year.

The project will generate 17 to 20 gigawatts of electricity, with around 800 megawatts being utilised by Darwin’s local power network – four times the city’s current demand – from 2027.

The project is expected to be fully operational by 2029, with 36 to 42 gigawatt hours of storage – 16 times the storage currently operating in the National Electricity Market.

3D rendering of submarine cables that would be used to transmit power from Australia to Southeast Asia. Image: Sun Cable.

“The Australia-Asia PowerLink is a long-term investment in energy resilience and decarbonisation at scale,” says Sun Cable founder and CEO David Griffin.

“With generation, transmission and storage technology, and engineering that is proven across each interconnected aspect of the operation, we have the economies of scale needed to deliver zero-emission dispatchable electricity with reliability and price stability.

“I’m delighted to welcome the appointments of Macquarie Capital and Moelis & Company, who bring their valued expertise to the project.”

Once operational, Sun Cable’s project is expected to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by abating 8.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum in Darwin and Singapore.