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A $5bn plan may bring Indonesia’s solar to Singapore

© Supplied by ShutterstockThe Southeast Asian city state of Singapore at sunrise.
The Southeast Asian city state of Singapore at sunrise.

Renewable energy developer Quantum Power Asia agreed to advance a potential $5 billion plan to export electricity generated from solar in Indonesia to Singapore as the city-state attempts to accelerate its use of renewables and cut its reliance on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Singapore-based Quantum and Berlin-based partner Ib Vogt aim to build a 3.5 gigawatt solar facility and 12 gigawatt-hour battery storage facility across 4,000 hectares of land in Indonesia’s Riau Islands, the companies said Tuesday in a statement.

The project would be connected to Singapore’s Tuas region via a 50 kilometer (31 miles) undersea cable passing through one of the busiest water ways in the world.

“We are studying how to get the path right so that no ships drop anchors and damage it,” David Ludwig, IB Vogt’s director Asia-Pacific, said in an interview.

Singapore, which currently generates about 95% of its electricity from imported gas, is aiming to import enough clean energy from overseas to meet 30% of its needs by 2035. The nation’s Energy Market Authority expects to approve a first wave of projects for 1.2 gigawatts of imported electricity by the fourth quarter, it said in an e-mail.

Quantum and Ib Vogt’s Anantara joint venture is among firms to have submitted a proposal to the authority. Projects to deliver renewable hydropower from Laos via Thailand and Malaysia, and a giant undersea cable to bring in solar electricity from the north of Australia are among other solutions being put forward for Singapore.

The Anantara project could be fully commissioned in 2032 and capable of supplying about 8% of Singapore’s electricity, according to the companies. Achieving that ambition would require the firms to deliver the world’s largest ever solar and storage system, and also hinges on securing financing.

Indonesia approves path for record breaking Australia-Singapore subsea cable project

The partners are currently in talks with banks and expect to finalise lenders in the next two years.

A first phase of the project delivering 1 gigawatt of solar capacity and about half a gigawatt-hour of battery storage is targeted to be completed by 2026 to 2027, according to the companies.

Riau’s government is in discussions with companies on the amount of electricity that will have to be supplied to Indonesia by the project, said the province’s governor Ansar Ahmad. The islands hosting the planned facility are estimated to consume about 15 megawatts of power, according to Quantum.

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