Solar Farm in Central Queensland

The Northern Territory Government is set to introduce legislation to support what is expected to be the largest and most technologically advanced renewable energy transmission system in the world. 

The $30 billion Sun Cable Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) project includes the world’s largest solar farm and battery in the Barkly region, plus a converter site and transition facilities at Murrumujuk, near Gunn Point.

The Solar Project (Australia-Asia Power Link) (Special Provisions) Bill 2022 will provide certainty that key commitments in the Territory’s Project Development Agreement with Sun Cable will be met. 

The legislation will clarify and streamline existing processes, increase project certainty, and support Sun Cable to secure project financing.  

Sun Cable Founder & CEO, David Griffin, said, “Sun Cable appreciates the ongoing support for the AAPowerLink from the Northern Territory Government. 

“The introduction of the Solar Project Bill 2022 is a manifestation of our common desire to drive investment in the Territory. This bill provides certainty that key commitments from the Project Development Agreement will be met.” 

With an expected life span of more than 70 years, the Northern Territory Government sees the project as integral to the territory’s future.

NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said, “The AAPowerLink will be built here in the Territory. It will be a major economic driver, and it will put the Territory on the international map when it comes to renewables.

“The legislation provides certainty for the project, and facilitates its implementation which will create over 1,750 jobs during construction and 350 ongoing positions as part of operations.”

It has been awarded Major Project Status by the Commonwealth and Territory Governments.

The NT Government and Sun Cable have also signed a Project Development Agreement to facilitate the project.

Minister for Renewables and Energy, Eva Lawler, said, “The Northern Territory Government is proud to support this project, which will provide locals with affordable energy that’s reliable and renewable by the end of the decade.

“The AAPowerLink will transform the Territory into a renewable energy powerhouse and establish a new energy export industry for Australia, with positive flow on benefits for businesses.” 

There are many types of this legislation in the Territory and interstate. NT examples include: North East Gas Interconnector Pipeline (Special Provisions) Act 2015; Ichthys LNG Project Act 2008; Trans-Territory Pipeline and Blacktip Gas Projects (Special Provisions) Act 2005; Tanami Exploration Agreement Ratification Act 2004; AustralAsia Railway (Special Provisions) Act 1999.

“The AAPowerLink is a pioneer project that will position the Territory as a world leader in the intercontinental transmission of renewable electricity,” Mr Griffin said.

“Further, the project aims to provide 800MW of dispatchable renewable energy capacity to the Darwin region from 2026. This supply will be critical to unlocking the Northern Territory’s economic growth potential and represents the start of a new renewable energy industry for the Territory.

“AAPowerLink will deliver jobs, education, and training opportunities for Territorians, including regional Aboriginal communities across the Territory.”

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