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Sun Cable has lodged a development application with the Development Consent Authority for the first phase of a proposed solar array manufacturing assembly facility in Darwin.
This application is an important step in the ongoing development of the Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL); a solar energy infrastructure network that will provide Darwin and Singapore with competitively priced, dispatchable, high volume renewable electricity from 2026 and 2027 respectively.
The development proposal is for a manufacturing facility that will pilot a semi-automated production line, manufacturing Maverick solar array systems that will help to build industrial and utility scale solar farms across Northern Australia.
The Maverick system has been designed by Australian company, 5B. A Maverick is an array of solar panels that is pre-fabricated so it can be easily transported and installed onsite. The establishment of this facility in Darwin will provide opportunities to supply future solar projects in the NT. Phase two of the development will expand the facility to manufacture Maverick solar array systems for the AAPL, and establish a logistics and distribution centre to transport material and equipment by rail to Sun Cable’s proposed solar farm, near Elliott in the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory. Phase 2 of the facility will be subject to a separate approval process.
The architectural design has been prepared by Darwin based company Bennett Design and the development application was prepared by Darwin town planning company, MasterPlan. Concurrent to the development application process, Sun Cable will work with ICN-NT to undertake an Expression of Interest process in the local market to select a delivery partner for the project. The facility is proposed for the East Arm Business Park managed by the Land Development Corporation. The location was chosen due to its proximity to Darwin port and access to the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway. The application will be on public display for 14 days, giving an opportunity to comment on the proposal.
The Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) is the integration of technologies to establish a solar energy infrastructure network that will provide Darwin and Singapore with competitively priced, dispatchable, high volume renewable electricity. It includes a;
● 14GW solar farm and approximately 33 GWh battery energy storage located near Elliott, in the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory
● 750km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line from the site to Darwin, connecting the precinct to the Darwin-Katherine Interconnected System (DKIS) and proposed Middle Arm Battery in Darwin
● 3750km subsea HVDC cable system to Singapore.
The 70-year, $26B project will create about 1500 jobs during construction and 350 jobs during operations. It will inject $8B into the local economy and generate over $1B in exports per annum. The provision of renewable energy to the NT will support the establishment of sustainable development precincts and power new low emissions manufacturing businesses.- The AAPL has Major Project Status with the Northern Territory and Australian Governments. The potential for large-scale solar generation to transform the energy landscape in Northern Australia was included in Infrastructure Australia’s Annual Infrastructure Priority Initiative List in February 2021.
Sun Cable has engaged Darwin Company EcOz to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for its Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL). Sun Cable will develop a Territory Benefits Plan (TBP) to optimise the social and economic benefit to the region from their activities. Key pillars of the TBP include NT procurement, Aboriginal participation and NT
employment and training. The company previously lodged a development application for its proposed battery and converter station on Channel Island Road, Middle Arm, which was approved in 2020.