Australian billionaire Cannon-Brookes moves closer to exporting solar power to Singapore via undersea cable in S$17.3b project

SINGAPORE: This week, Mike Cannon-Brookes took control of a S$17.3 billion project to ship solar power to Singapore through a 4,200-kilometer cable. The Australian billionaire affirmed that the project is an “investable” one, saying he believes more investors would be attracted to it after Grok Ventures, his company, bought it for an undisclosed amount on Sept 7 (Thursday).

“We have spent a lot of time with customers and are pretty clear on the unit economics. We believe that there’s enough margin … to make it an investable project,” Reuters reports Mr Cannon-Brookes telling members of the media.

The project had stalled earlier after another billionaire investor, Mr Andrew Forrest, said he did not believe the plan to ship energy through an undersea cable was commercially viable. But after on Thursday, when Grok Ventures’ purchase was announced, the firm said that talks with Singaporean and Indonesian authorities are making progress.

Mr Cannon-Brookes is quoted in a statement as saying that the plan “has all the component parts to make the next great Australian infrastructure initiative possible,” adding that there’s a “huge upside for both Australia and our neighbours.”

Grok Ventures said that a solar farm in Australia’s Northern Territory, which will most likely be the biggest in the world, would ship at least 900 megawatts of electricity supply to local industry around Darwin and 1.7 gigawatts for export to Singapore to start with, with an additional 3 gigawatts for Australian customers planned as well.

“It is by far, I think, the cheapest way to export energy from Australia in volume and at affordable prices,” the billionaire has been quoted by TIME as saying.

This month, Grok Ventures plans to file a submission with Singapore’s Energy Market Authority for a conditional energy import license.

Additionally, the company is negotiating with Indonesia to use its territorial waters for laying the cable. /TISG

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