The desert outside Tennant Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory may hold the key to addressing Singapore’s future electricity supplies.
The world’s largest solar farm that could light up Singapore’s glittering shopping malls and office towers will be built on the barren dunes there.
It was reported that a huge amount of panels as well as supporting battery storage devices with a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts would be spread across 15,000 hectares of land there to ensure the solar farm could make the most of the outback’s clear skies and bright sunshine.
The bulk of the green electricity generated by this US$14.1 billion project would be exported to the city-state in Southeast Asia – equivalent to roughly one-fifth of its annual electricity consumption – via high-voltage submarine cables that will stretch about 3,800 kilometers.
The Northern Territory project to power Singapore, however, is still at a relatively early stage of planning.
The Guardian and Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao reported that it could take four years for the massive solar farm to lock in finance, with production scheduled to start mid-to-late next decade. Yet the project is now under the auspices of both governments in Singapore and Australia’s Northern Territory state government.
Singapore aims to shed its reliance on expensive gas-fired power generation and on supplies from Malaysia and Indonesia, while Australia, with the best renewable energy resource in the developed world, also aims to export more green energy instead of liquefied natural gas and heavy-polluting coal.
Sun Cable, the company that will carry out the ambitious power generation and transmission project, said prefabricated solar cells would be used to capture “one of the best solar radiance reserves on the planet” and the advent of high-voltage, direct-current submarine cables would cut the cost and minimize power loss and change the flow of energy between the continents.
Another similar proposal to send electricity to an inland hydrogen manufacturing hub and also to Indonesia is being discussed in Australia as well.