• Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

The Australian $16 billion solar energy project will be the largest globally


Dec 5, 2020

The Australia–ASEAN Power Link will become the largest renewable energy project globally, bringing together a combination of various resources like a solar farm, battery developer, and undersea electricity connection. The project will generate 10 gigawatts from the solar farm equal to 30000 acres in the Northern Territory. This project would generate energy equal to that produced by nine million rooftop solar panels.

The farm will connect with a 30 GWh battery storage system to ensure that the collected energy continually flows to the storage system before discharge. The project will inform the development of an 800-kilometer transmission line transferring 3 gigawatts of renewable energy to the Darwin region. This line would then proceed to discharge 2.2 gigawatts of power through a 3700 kilometers distance undersea to reach Singapore. Singapore’s Sun Cable will oversee the implementation of this $16 billion project.

This undersea project will surpass the Norway-Britain North Sea Link in length by five times. The energy storage system will be over 100 times bigger than Australia’s 193.5 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve. The Australia-ASEAN project will be initiating operations and start generating energy in the next seven years. Experts have analyzed the project and think it would create over close to 2000 jobs in the construction and operation phases. Industry analysts have begun evaluating the expenses that come with the transfer of energy through long distances.

Many renewable energy resources are far from populated areas; for instance, the US’s wind resources exist in the sparsely populated areas of Texas and Oklahoma. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US revealed that additional development of renewable energy resources would need the installation of more transmission lines.

Interests have been growing over the connection of population centers to the renewable energy resources through power lines carrying electricity, although the expenses of facilitating these concepts have been high. These projects require the input of energy regulators and landowners’ willingness to accept the lines to be installed in their lands.

Big projects usually come with high risks and challenges that must be surpassed. A good example is that the ships that will be laying down the powerlines undersea will encounter problems since they have to navigate through shallow waters.

The cost of solar is tedious to approximate but can help the company focus while trying to develop this mega project. First, the engineers have to determine the expected lifespan of the system before installing it. In many cases, the period exceeds two decades, which implies that durable materials should be used.

Next, the company must consider the quantity of power that will be generated from the system throughout this period. Nevertheless, the quantity varies since the solar radiations vary depending on seasons. Finally, the engineers must factor into the equation the energy lost as heat in the transmission process. This Australia-ASEAN project will experience more heat losses since the power will be moving through a long distance.