Engineering

SJ Group joins the game-changing Australia-Asia PowerLink Project

Subsea Cable scaled

SMEC is part of a team delivering the transformative Australia-Asia PowerLink project which will develop one of the world’s largest solar farms in Australia, the world’s largest battery, and the world’s longest undersea High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable system over 4,200km from Darwin to Singapore.

The A$30 billion (S$30.15 billion) project can supply up to 15 percent of Singapore’s electricity needs, with full capacity available from 2028. Sun Cable’s modeling shows the AAPowerLink could reduce Singapore’s emissions by 6 million tonnes per year, matching the entire climate abatement gap in Singapore’s announced 2030 targets.

This was announced today by Sun Cable, an Australia-founded renewable energy company in a press release that has been widely covered in Singapore media today.

SMEC, a member of the Surbana Jurong Group, is among a powerhouse of world-leading expertise with each company across different areas, to drive the future of renewable energy in Australia and the Indo-Pacific. The companies are:

  • Bechtel (Project Delivery), one of the world’s most respected engineering, construction, and project management companies;
  • Hatch (HVDC Transmission), a global engineering, project management, and professional services company, and leader in complex engineering solutions;
  • Marsh McLennan (Risk Management), the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor;
  • PwC Australia (Project Advisory), part of the PwC global network, delivering financial advisory, legal, consulting, and assurance professional services, comprising an integrated infrastructure offering; and
  • SMEC (Solar Generation System), a global specialist engineering and design consultancy will deliver engineering consulting services across geotechnical, environmental, civil, structural, and electrical disciplines for the solar generation systems and grid connection interfaces in Australia.


Key components and timeline
The AAPowerLink will be a high-capacity solar generation, storage, and transmission system that will transmit reliable, dispatchable renewable electricity from the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore markets. Its key components are:

  • A solar farm precinct including energy storage and voltage source converter (VSC)
  • A high voltage direct current (HVDC) overhead transmission line (OHTL) from the solar farm to Darwin
  • VSC’s and a utility-scale battery in Darwin
  • A subsea HVDC cable system from Darwin to Singapore 
  • A VSC and utility-scale battery in Singapore

Construction is set to start from late 2023, with the first supply of electricity to Darwin in 2026 and the first electricity to Singapore in 2027 (full capacity by end of 2028). 

The SJ Group is helping to facilitate the project through early works preparation that includes mapping out the regulatory approvals required to tie Sun Cable’s solution into the Singapore grid, as well as providing technical services for receiving infrastructures such as voltage source converters, substations, and subsea cables for landing the power in Singapore.

The Indonesian government has recommended the submarine cable route and granted permission to undertake the subsea survey.


Socio-economic impact
To meet the demand for skills and expertise aligned with Singapore’s sustainability goals, Surbana Jurong and Sun Cable are also collaborating on a series of sustainability-themed webinars, with a focus on renewable energy. Organized by SJ Global Academy, Surbana Jurong’s learning and development entity, the series aims to engage the community in building a better future and will be open to students of higher institutions of learning from and industry professionals pursuing sustainability-driven skillsets.

Sun Cable CEO, David Griffin, said: “To secure the support of these globally recognized experts is an important vote of confidence in the significance and feasibility of Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink. Sun Cable is proud to have the expertise of Bechtel, Hatch, SMEC, MarshMcLennan, and PwC Australia reinforcing our team, as we deliver this game-changing infrastructure for Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore.”

Solar Cells scaled

The AAPowerLink project will help Singapore transition to cleaner energy and raise the level of engineering expertise in the region.

Surbana Jurong Group CEO Wong Heang Fine noted that the project will help Singapore transition to cleaner energy and raise the level of engineering expertise in the region. He said: “Surbana Jurong is very excited to be part of this multi-national project development team whose vision is in step with Singapore’s goal to intensify solar energy deployment.”

Hari Poologasundram, CEO SMEC, and CEO International, Surbana Jurong said: “We’re proud to partner with the PDP and with our colleagues at Surbana Jurong to bring together the experience, skills, and expertise required to deliver this project.”

For SMEC CEO for ANZ James Phillis, SMEC is excited to be a critical force in bringing this renewable energy project to life as SMEC did with the iconic Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme. “As a key technical partner SMEC will be harnessing our solar and renewables expertise and innovation to deliver a project of this size, scale, and importance,” he said. “I’m proud that SMEC is once again playing a key role in redefining the future of renewable energy.”

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About the SJ Connects e-newsletter: SJ Connects is published monthly by the Surbana Jurong Group, a global urban, infrastructure and managed services consulting firm, with over 70 years of track record in successful project delivery. Headquartered in Singapore, the group has a global talent pool of 16,000 across Surbana Jurong and our member companies AETOS, Atelier Ten, B+H, KTP, Prostruct, RBG, SAA, Sino-Sun and SMEC, based in over 40 countries. We provide a full suite of multidisciplinary consultancy services across aviation, healthcare, hospitality, transport, water and environment as well as energy and resources. Our technical teams include architects, designers, planners, engineers and other specialists driven by progressive thinking and creative ideas in our mission of “Building Cities, Shaping Lives”.