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Billionaires Bid For Giant Australian Solar Project

Two of Australia’s richest people, Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes, have submitted bids to buy Sun Cable, a solar company proposing to install the world’s longest subsea cable to send solar-generated power from Australia to Singapore, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the matter.  

Forrest and Cannon-Brookes are current investors in Sun Cable, but their dispute over funding plans for the $20-billion project led to the collapse of the company in January. Sun Cable was put under administration, with the company saying that “The voluntary administration process will now unlock a path forward for the Company to access additional capital for continued development of its marque project, the Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) and progress the next stage of its development portfolio in a strong market.”

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink was perhaps the most ambitious renewable energy project in Australia yet. With an original price tag of some $13 billion, the project would involve the construction of a massive solar farm in Australia’s Northern Territory with a capacity of 10 gigawatts (GW), later raised to 20 GW, which would make it the largest solar farm in the world.

The power produced at the farm would then be sent to Singapore via an undersea cable to Singapore or stored at a 50-MW battery storage facility.

The project was led by Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder and co-chief executive of software company Atlassian, and Andrew Forrest, the mining magnate. The two locked horns over the costs and management of the project.    

Sun Cable’s administrators FTI Consulting said earlier this week that the company’s mega project had attracted “strong interest” from multiple parties, including offers from outside the pool of current shareholders.

“The sale process has advertised Sun Cable as a complete development, including AAPowerlink, and the sale continues to be progressed on that basis,” FTI Consulting added.

Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy is said to have been buying out Sun Cable creditors and could already be in a position to control creditor votes, Australia’s Financial Review reported on Thursday.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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