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Sun Cable deal a game-changer for solar power in the NT


A consortium led by Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures says Sun Cable has the potential of being a nation-building project for Australia, after winning the bidding for it.

FTI Consulting announced on Friday that Helietta Holdings 1, an entity affiliated with Grok Ventures, would acquire substantially all of Sun Cable’s assets. 

The price of the transaction was not disclosed but is expected to allow all of Sun Cable’s unsecured creditors to be paid in full.

The plan is to continue progressing the project under the scope of its original vision, collecting Northern Territory sunshine via a massive solar farm and transmitting 1.8 gigawatts to Singapore through an undersea cable.

Cost is north of $35 billion

It is expected to cost upwards of $35 billion.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners joined Grok in bidding for the deal and the parties said they would have more to say in coming weeks about its design and development priorities.

“A big step in the right direction,” said Mr Cannon-Brookes, the billionaire founder of software company Atlassian.

“We’ve always believed in the possibilities Sun Cable presents in exporting our boundless sunshine, and what it could mean for Australia. 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.”

David Scaysbrook, the Australian-based co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, said he was pleased to have helped take Sun Cable out of administration.

It was placed there following disagreements between Mr Cannon-Brookes and its other backer, Fortescue Metals’ Andrew Forrest.

Mr Scaysbrook called Sun Cable a “visionary undertaking by any measure” and a project of global significance.

“Quinbrook will focus on delivering on the opportunity afforded by northern Australia’s abundant solar and wind energy resources and showcasing the important and complementary role that the world’s most advanced storage technologies can offer in supplying energy intensive industry with reliable and competitively priced, carbon-free power solutions,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

Quinbrook invests in sustainable infrastructure, including the largest-ever solar and energy storage projects being developed in the US and UK.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of July, FTI said.


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