A map graphic of the deepsea cable between Darwin and Singapore

Mike Cannon-Brookes’ private investment company Grok Ventures has completed the purchase of SunCable’s assets, with the change in ownership renewing SunCable’s focus to progress the Australia-Asia Power Link (AAPowerLink).

Grok Ventures has acquired all of SunCables assets, including the shares in its operating subsidiaries.

Grok has said that it believes SunCable is well-progressed and in a strong position to deliver the AAPowerLink project and is committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to realise the potential of this opportunity that will deliver significant benefits for Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Principal of Grok, ‍Mike Cannon-Brookes, said SunCable will be at the heart of Australia’s drive to become a renewable energy superpower. 

“The green energy transition remains the greatest economic opportunity of our time,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said. 

“SunCable’s AAPowerLink project has all the component parts to make the next great Australian infrastructure initiative possible. It will create more local jobs and support our green manufacturing and renewable energy industries. It’s set to deliver huge volumes of green energy to Darwin – powering a burgeoning green industry opportunity in the Northern Territory.

“There’s huge upside for both Australia and our neighbours, Singapore and Indonesia. We look forward to working with our partners across Asia to drive this.”

Renewed focus to deliver on SunCable’s potential

To support SunCable’s focus, as well as to enable the most efficient and effective delivery of the AAPowerLink project, SunCable has reorganised into two project streams:

SunCable Australia: The onshore component of the AAPowerLink project comprising generation of renewable electricity anchored by what is expected to be the world’s largest solar array in the Northern Territory, delivery of these electrons to Darwin, and supplying the offshore component of the AAPowerLink as well as third party industrial power consumers located in/near Darwin. This development will be overseen by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, who have a proven track record of delivering and financing mega-scale renewable projects to power energy intensive customer operations.

SunCable International: The offshore component of the AAPowerLink project comprising the delivery of electrons via sub-sea cable to highly credit worthy global corporate offtakers in Singapore.

Mark Branson will continue as Chief Development Officer of SunCable Australia and Mitesh Patel has been appointed as the Interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer of SunCable International.

AAPowerLink has the ability to deliver ~6GW of firmed renewable energy in multiple stages. 

In the first stage, it is intended that at least 900MW will stay in Australia, for supply to large industrial customers including those located in the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct in Darwin, Northern Territory. 

The availability of competitively priced, 24/7 renewable electricity offers the opportunity to underpin a new wave of green industrial development in the region, supporting local jobs and the growth of sustainable new industries, which could include hydrogen electrolysis, critical minerals processing, e-fuels and green data centres.

Additionally, 1.75GW is to be delivered to Singapore and supply renewable energy to key customers.‍

Subsequently, an additional 3GW of renewable electricity is planned for customers in Darwin, representing nearly ~4GW. This supply forms a key component of Australia’s ambition of becoming a renewable energy superpower.

CEO of Grok Ventures, Jeremy Kwong-Law, said Grok has a high degree of confidence that SunCable and AAPowerLink will receive the required capital support as project milestones are reached.

“Grok has always said we are willing to work alongside constructive partners who share our vision and help the AAPowerLink achieve its goals,” Mr Kwong-Law said.

“Once all milestones are reached and we reach financial investment decision (FID), we have a high conviction that large institutional investors and debt providers will fund the capital expenditure to construct the project.”

Immediate priorities

SunCable’s immediate priorities are to progress the required regulatory approvals to advance the AAPowerLink. SunCable will lodge its submission to the Singaporean Energy Market Authority (EMA) to gain the energy import conditional licence required to deliver the AAPowerLink in late September. SunCable is seeking to support Singapore’s stated objective of importing at least 4GW from low-carbon sources by 2035.

Additionally, SunCable will continue to engage with the Indonesian Government to obtain the required licence to lay subsea cable through its territorial waters, and work with the Federal Government to support its ambitions.

SunCable Australia is continuing to advance the key authorisations and approvals with the Northern Territory Government and the Traditional Owners of the project area.

Through the due diligence process, Grok Ventures has obtained comfort that there is a deep pool of reputable prospective offtakers. To date, SunCable has received expressed interest of approximately six times its first supply to Darwin, and over 1.5 times its supply to Singapore (reflecting 2.5GW of customer offtake interest).

HV cable manufacturing and testing facility

In addition to the AAPowerLink project, SunCable is set to establish an advanced High Voltage (HV) subsea cable manufacturing and testing facility, with AAPowerLink as an anchor customer. SunCable is in discussions with established global subsea cable manufacturers to jointly develop, construct and operate this facility.

The new cable plant is expected to see substantial new investment and create approximately 800–1,000 direct jobs during the construction phase of the project. The operational phase will require over 400 long-term advanced manufacturing roles. 

This facility is set to expand the supply of advanced HV subsea cable globally and be a critical enabler not only of SunCable but also for other high priority renewable generation and transmission projects, including offshore wind in Australia and around the world.

Featured image: A map graphic of the deepsea cable between Darwin and Singapore. Image credit: SunCable.

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