The $23BN Plan to Power Singapore from Australia

it's a small country with a big problem singapore set itself an ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions during the second half of the century but as it stands 96 of its energy comes from burning natural gas and there are very few alternatives to providing energy for its 5.7 million residents to fix this there are now plans to build the world's largest solar array in the australian outback and then connect the two nations by a nearly 4 000 kilometer under sea cable set to cost 23 billion australian dollars and create an entirely new export industry in the region this mega project could be just the beginning for southeast asia's energy revolution despite being highly developed singapore was always going to struggle with its transition to renewable energy it's one of the world's smallest countries and the island nation lacks the wide open space needed for solar arrays there aren't suitable rivers for harnessing hydropower low average wind speeds and singapore's location along one of the world's busiest and narrowest shipping lanes rules out offshore wind farms and geothermal energy sources are non-existent still it has a nice apple store and a funky looking hotel with what's probably the world's most awesome pool anyway let's get back to his geographic shortcomings [Music] to get around the problems the australian singaporean company sun cable is planning to make use of the abundant solar potential in one of the world's most arid and least populated regions to provide clean energy for one of the world's most densely populated countries the australian asian powerlink or simply sun cable as it's known in media circles will be a massive solar farm covering more than 120 square kilometers and generating 14 gigawatts of energy in the heart of australia's northern territory that energy will then be stored in a 33 gigawatt-hour capacity battery before traveling over 750 kilometers to darwin using high voltage overhead cables then a further 3750 kilometers via undersea high voltage direct current or hvdc transmission cables to eventually provide 20 of singapore's energy needs with four and a half thousand kilometers separating singapore from its future energy source the obvious questions are what were they thinking and why australia well while singapore is surrounded by other much closer countries none of them can match what the australian outback has to offer yeah it's not like that located just on the edge of the tropics in one of the driest and most solar irradiated places on earth the outback provides much greater and more reliable energy potential than singapore's neighbours which experience quite a few more rainy days each year now as you might expect transmitting electricity over long distances like that patch of ocean between australia and singapore does result in some losses but this isn't a new issue and we've known how to solve it since the 1950s you'll remember from school that by converting alternating current or ac power to direct current or dc power resistance within the cable can be minimized and this allows electricity to be transported over much greater distances with less loss no doubt it's all coming back to you now using high voltage direct current or hv dc cables and converters and inverters at either end to make the power usable electrical losses over the entire length of the sun cable will only add up to around 10 percent that's considered an acceptable loss given that this generation was emission free and it's a feat that was proven feasible in 2019 when china opened the 3293 kilometer ultra high voltage line with its undersea section stretching for over 3750 kilometers depending on the final route the sun cable will be at least six times longer than the world's current longest underwater hvdc that's the norn ned linking norway and the netherlands and five times longer than the viking link that's currently under construction and set to connect denmark to the uk [Music] while the undersea part of the journey perhaps presents the biggest challenge for the project it isn't unachievable due to the indonesian archipelago once being a single landmass back during the last ice age when we last left our homes and went to nightclubs the java and south china seas are both relatively shallow with depth rarely exceeding 100 meters it's only the tmore c that presents a serious obstacle with sections that drop down to 1700 meters as it stands today the deepest hv dc cable sits at a depth of 1600 meters between italy and sardinia but italian cable manufacturer prismian is developing technology that can lay cables as deep as 3000 meters though large-scale products like this can often clash with environmental and indigenous groups the sun cable team has worked alongside government agencies since the project was first proposed and has even shifted the site of the solar array to avoid building on indigenous land the project is outrageously ambitious and it might seem pretty far-fetched when you first hear about it but those involved aren't messing around the project was added to infrastructure australia's priority list and agreements with the northern territory government was signed in early 2021.

subsea surveying started in 2020 and 750 kilometers of the route have now been fully mapped constructions due to start in 2023 the system will begin operating in 2026 and it'll be connected to singapore in 2027 with ample room for future growth a host of developing nations on its doorstep and demand for clean energy only set to rise the sun cable project sets australia up to transition from the world's largest exporter of coal to a green energy exporting superpower and it could act as a model for other regions with similar conditions to maximize their energy production and provide for a growing world [Music] if you liked this video and you want to learn more about where construction is headed make sure you're subscribed to tomorrow's build.

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