Australian billionaires commit further funds to solar energy export vision

Mining and clean energy tycoon Andrew Forrest and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes have unlocked around US$152 million in further funds for an undersea cable project that will allow Australia to export solar power to Singapore.

Sun Cable completed the capital raising with existing shareholders to accelerate the progress of the Australia-Asia PowerLink, as well as other projects in its portfolio, the company said on Monday.

The raising was led by Cannon-Brookes’ investment group Grok Ventures and Forrest’s renewables venture Squadron Energy.

Sun Cable’s $21.8 billion project will lay a 4,200 km high voltage cable from a giant solar and battery complex in the Northern Territory which will send enough electricity to meet 15% of Singapore’s entire demand. The project will also supply Darwin when it starts operating in 2027.

The company now has sufficient funding to take it to financial close on the project by the end of 2023, according to Sun Cable’s chief executive David Griffin. A formal process is underway with Singapore’s Energy Market Authority to obtain necessary import licences, he added.

“This brings Australia one step closer to realising our renewables exporting potential,” Cannon-Brookes said in a statement. “We can power the world with clean energy and Sun Cable is harnessing that at scale.”

Cannon-Brookes has been a vocal campaigner for the clean energy transition in Australia, along with Forrest, who is looking to transform his Fortescue Metals Group into a major clean energy producer over the next decade.