A wrangle between two billionaires over one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects ended with Mike Cannon-Brookes taking full control of the A$30bn ($20bn) Sun Cable plan to pipe massive amounts of solar power from Australia to Singapore.
A buyer associated with Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures reached a deal with administrators to acquire Sun Cable, which entered voluntary administration in January amid "a lack of consensus" between the software tycoon and its other main backer, mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.
Sun Cable’s original plan aimed to export power to Singapore from up to 20GW of PV in Australia’s Northern Territory via a 4,200km HVDC cable. Forrest – one of the world’s highest-profile backers of green hydrogen projects – reportedly wanted to scrap the export element and focus on generation for green fuels production within Australia.
Administrator FTI Consulting said Cannon-Brookes plans to progress the Australia-Asia power link to final investment decision, with stage 1 of the project delivering 1.8GW to Singapore and 900MW to Darwin, Australia.
Completion of the transaction is expected by the end of July. No financial details were given of the deal with Cannon-Brookes, who once memorably quipped that the plan was “insane” but feasible.
As well as the massive generation capacity, Sun Cable originally planned to back up its output with what was billed as the world’s largest battery array at 36-42GWh.
"It's time to stretch our country's ambition. We need to take big swings if we are going to be a renewable energy superpower. So swing we will," Cannon-Brookes said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Forrest’s Squadron Energy reportedly confirmed that it did not make a final offer to buy Sun Cable and would focus on its domestic renewable energy agenda.