teaThe desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and deliver Singapore's future electricity supply. In the southern provinces, few are yet to be noticed, but the Australian developer group is betting for change.
If they are right, it can have a broad impact on the energy industry in Australia and the energy that the world sells.
Known as Sun Cable, the company is committed to being the world's largest solar power plant. If developed as planned, a 10 GigaWatt panel array spreads over 15,000 hectares and is backed by a battery storage unit that can supply power for 24 hours.
The overhead transmission line supplies electricity to Darwin and connects to the NT grid. However, the bulk will be exported via high voltage DC submarine cables crossing to Indonesia via the Indonesian archipelago. Developers say they can provide one-fifth of the island's country's electricity needs in lieu of increasingly expensive gas-fired power.
After 18 months of development, the $ 20 billion Sun cable development came quietly at the Top End three weeks ago at a series of events to highlight NT's solar potential. This idea was accepted by the NT government and attracted the attention of software billionaire. Mike Cannon – BrooksHe is considering participation through his private investment firm Grok Ventures.
The NT plan follows an ambitious plan for Pilbara. Pilbara is working on another group of developers to develop a larger wind and solar combined power plant to power the local industry and develop a green hydrogen manufacturing hub. On Friday, project developer Andrew Dickson announced that the proposed Asia Renewable Energy Hub has grown by more than a third from 11 GW to 15 GW. "As far as we know, the world's largest wind-solar hybrid," he says.
These developments are in relatively early planning stages. The two teams will take four years to get into the financial market, and they will begin in the middle of the next decade or so. But renewable energy experts are cautiously optimistic that they can trigger new ways of thinking about Australia's energy exports. It stimulates prospects for energy exports, rather than expanding fossil fuel deals that better align with French commitments to the Paris Energy Convention.
Australia 's counter – measures, which take serious steps to address the climate crisis, have set about 1.4% of GHG emissions at about 15 yuan in the carbon emissions table. A recent report by Climate Analytics, a science and policy research institute, estimates that Australia's contribution to fossil fuel exports is up 5%.
The latter figure is expected to increase over the next 10 years. Australia is the world's largest exporter of Qatar and coal, a leader in the sale of LNG. Government economists predict that exports of coal will decline, but there is bipartisan support for a significant expansion of both industries.
Ross Garnaut, a professor of economics at the University of Melbourne and a chair of the Australian-German Energy Transition Hub, argues that the other way can go forward. In a recent lecture series he presented his analysis of how Australia, which has the best renewable energy resources in the developed world, can increase energy production while reducing global emissions.
Garnaut has pointed to an innovative decline in renewable energy and energy storage costs over the past two decades. Since the majority of clean energy development costs are capital (free of fuel), he says, the change fundamentally changed the ability of clean projects to compete with fossil fuels. Assuming Garnaut has low capital costs in developed countries, Garnaut says that if properly managed, Australia could become the center of low-cost energy in the future zero-carbon world.
It will be a natural home for growth in mineral processing for the world that gradually increases production value by solar, wind and other clean sources. Industries thriving under Garnaut's vision include new energy-intensive operations such as aluminum, iron ore and steel, and new opportunities for silica, lithium, vanadium, nickel, cobalt and copper.
"This will be a pathway for Australia's energy production to significantly reduce global emissions, which will also be the basis for a new era of economic expansion and prosperity.
Garnaut believes that exporting electricity through high voltage cables and green hydrogen will be part of the future of this clean energy, but it will be almost unexpected later. Sun Cable's CEO, David Griffin, is optimistic about the possibility of Singapore's support for power in the outback in 10 years.
Get top stories every morning in the Guardian Australia
"This project will use prefabricated solar cells to capture one of the best solar radiation reserves on Earth," he said. However, he said, the major change that makes the farm possible is the emergence of high-voltage DC submarine cables, he described as "the greatest development of non-sin technology." Sun Cable's Singapore underwater link will run 3,800 km.
"It's a special technology that will change the flow of energy between countries, which has deep implications, and its implications are not widely known," says Griffin.
"If electricity flows very distantly from one country to another, the flow of energy changes from liquid fuel (oil and LNG) to electrons – ultimately this is a much more efficient way of delivering energy.
Sun Cable's supporters believe that Singapore is heavily dependent on the gas supplied by Malaysia and Indonesia and that the well-regulated electricity market transported by LNG is familiar to the competition.
The Asia Renewable Energy Hub proposal across the Pilbara has received another pressure. Consortium developers, InterContinental Energy, CWP Energy Asia, Vestas of the wind energy company and the Macquarie Group, are planning to send energy to Indonesia via submarine cables. I started. It has fallen in favor of greenfield hydrogen – a change-driven, Andrew Dixon says, as international and regional interest increases to save money and propose a much larger market.
The expanded hub proposal, released this week, says it will create 3,000 jobs and 400 jobs in a vast area of about 6,500 square kilometers, roughly half the size of Sydney. Approximately two-thirds of the 15 GW capacity will meet huge wind turbines and one-third solar panels. Developers say that a fifth of the total capacity is expected to potentially include new mining and mining operations for Pilbara's large industrial energy users. However, most of the electricity generated will be used to operate a hydrogen manufacturing hub.
Hydrogen will be sold and exported domestically, and Japan and South Korea have expressed a desire to convert hydrogen consumption to that direction. Dickson says production of large quantities of green hydrogen will open up the possibility of using it to replace coal in steel production. It can allow an extended version of the "Green Steel" model adopted by Whyalla by British businessman Sanjeev Gupta.
Dickson pointed out a recent assessment by Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel and the International Energy Agency to demonstrate hydrogen potential. "People realize that decades of promise can be the time to do it now," he says.
Griffin and Dickson refuse to comment on the role the federal government can or can play in green export development, but volunteers say they have local MPs and state governments. The two note that the fact that their proposal is off-grid has helped to isolate them from the politically loaded debate that poured out renewable energy on fossil fuels.
Roger Dargaville, a member of the Energy Transition Hub, senior lecturer on renewable energy at Monash University, highlights the work of reviewing the future of clean exports. A recent project has proposed a 40 GW submarine power cable in Indonesia that is much larger than the first proposed by the Asia Renewable Energy Hub, so it will run until 2035 if low emission targets are adopted in that country. It will be possible.
Dargaville believes that future exports will almost certainly be mixed before hydrogen, shipped electricity and minerals are shipped. He said the political and technical challenges would be serious and should not underestimate the scale needed to replace Australia's existing fossil fuel industry (coal and LNG industry should invest more than $ 100 billion each year and invest tens of thousands). But he stressed that international markets should not make mistakes where they are taking us.
The only question is whether climate exists at the time scientists say they need it. "It is not just yes or no."