Sun Cable administration: Mike Cannon-Brookes, Andrew Forrest’s solar energy plan chaos in Singapore
A $30 billion project to harvest solar energy in the Australian outback and ship it to Singapore is in jeopardy after a row between its billionaire investors Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest
Sun Cable, the company behind the Northern Territory’s massive solar farm and the project’s 4,300km submarine cable system, entered voluntary administration on Wednesday.
Construction of the Northern Territory-based facility, touted as the world’s largest green energy project, is expected to begin in 2024.
It was originally hoped the project could create 2,000 jobs, create $2 billion worth of Australian exports and supply 15 percent of Singapore’s electricity.
The $30 billion project to harvest solar power in the Australian outback and send it to Singapore is in jeopardy after a row between its billionaire investors Mike Cannon-Brookes (pictured left, with wife Annie) and Andrew Forrest
Construction of the Northern Territory-based facility, touted as the world’s largest green energy project, is expected to begin in 2024. In the picture an artist’s rendering of the solar park
But Mr. Cannon-Brookes and Mr. Forrest disagreed on several key issues of the project, known as the Australia-Asia PowerLink, ABC reported.
They squabbled over the company’s funding and direction, the amounts of money Sun Cable was spending and its failure to meet key milestones related to its venture capital funding arrangement.
Mr Forrest’s privately owned Squadron Energy vetoed Mr Cannon-Brookes’ proposed $60 million fundraising.
His alternative plan would have seen Squadron take over management of Sun Cable.
The shareholdings of the company founders may also have been diluted.
The plan was rejected by shareholders and Mr. Cannon-Brookes.
The Australia-Asia PowerLink would include the world’s longest undersea cable to carry solar-generated electricity to Singapore, with Indonesia to be added at a later date
After Sun Cable failed to meet key milestones, Mr. Forrest proposed a new plan that would see his company, Squadron Energy, take charge of the project. The shareholders and Mr. Cannon-Brookes objected
The collapse comes less than a year after the two billionaires invested $210 million to fund the undersea cable.
The project included building a 20 gigawatt (GW) solar farm on 12,000 hectares on a cattle station near Tennant Creek and capturing 42 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy storage in the world’s largest battery grid.
Then the longest submarine cable in the world will transport the solar power to Singapore, with Indonesia to follow later.
The company issued a statement indicating the project is far from complete. She opened up the announcement as an opportunity.
‘The voluntary administration process will now provide the company with a route to access additional capital for the further development of its branding project,’ the statement said.
The project’s volunteer administrators, FTI Consulting, are likely looking for new investments or could sell the company.
‘This project is well positioned for completion,’ said Sun Cable Founder and CEO David Griffin.
It was hoped the massive project, based on a cattle station near Tennant Creek, could create 2000 jobs, create $2 billion worth of Australian exports and provide 15 percent of Singapore’s electricity. Shown is an archive photograph of the NT
Mr. Cannon-Brookes remains Sun Cable’s chairman and reiterated that commitment in the statement.
“Sun Cable has accomplished so much since its inception in 2018. I’m confident it will play a big part in bringing green energy to the world, straight from Australia.
“I fully support this ambition and the team and look forward to supporting the next chapter of the company,” he said.
There was no official comment from Mr. Forrest or Squadron Energy.
The project was officially recognized by the Northern Territory Government in 2019.
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