Solar power from Australia to light up Singapore

From The Asia Times

The ambitious project may take more than a decade to finish, but the technology is almost ready

ByK.G. Chan

The desert outside Tennant Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory may hold the key to addressing Singapore’s future electricity supplies.

The world’s largest solar farm that could light up Singapore’s glittering shopping malls and office towers will be built on the barren dunes there.

It was reported that a huge amount of panels as well as supporting battery storage devices with a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts would be spread across 15,000 hectares of land there to ensure the solar farm could make the most of the outback’s clear skies and bright sunshine.

The bulk of the green electricity generated by this US$14.1 billion project would be exported to the city-state in Southeast Asia – equivalent to roughly one-fifth of its annual electricity consumption – via high-voltage submarine cables that will stretch about 3,800 kilometers.


Australia has abundant sunlight, especially in its Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory project to power Singapore, however, is still at a relatively early stage of planning.

The Guardian and Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao reported that it could take four years for the massive solar farm to lock in finance, with production scheduled to start mid-to-late next decade. Yet the project is now under the auspices of both governments in Singapore and Australia’s Northern Territory state government.

Singapore aims to shed its reliance on expensive gas-fired power generation and on supplies from Malaysia and Indonesia, while Australia, with the best renewable energy resource in the developed world, also aims to export more green energy instead of liquefied natural gas and heavy-polluting coal.

A view of Singapore’s Marina Bay at dusk. The affluent city-state aims to shed its reliance on gas imported from Malaysia and Indonesia for power generation. Photo: Asia Times

A view of Singapore’s Marina Bay at dusk. The affluent city-state aims to shed its reliance on gas imported from Malaysia and Indonesia for power generation. Photo: Asia Times

Full article here.


175 thoughts on “Solar power from Australia to light up Singapore

  1. “Supply all of Australia’s AND the worlds electricity ?…. Really ?
    …..Simply.. delusional !

  2. Is it the Australians or Singapore that is virtue signalling? If Singapore leased land from Malaysia, it could build several multi-gigawatt nuclear power plants, and actually have dispatchable power for that price. I am quite sure the Chinese or South Koreans would gladly build them.

    • Nuclear energy has proven to be unreliable and needs constant maintenance, why not use baron land for the production of good clean sustainable energy which just so happens to get quite warm and sunny 😆

        • I agree we should stick it to those wealthy barons but what does that have to do with the Outback?

          Barons leased land from the King that was known as a manor. They were known as the Lord of the Manor and were in complete control of this land. … The Barons kept as much of their land as they wished for their own use, then divided the rest among their Knights.

      • yeah mate its warm n sunny
        it hits the high 30s and upwards often which stuffs solar panels I gather
        they have some ripper dust storms
        the natives might get a bit(lot) restless over their land being used for this
        they had a decent quake up there last week
        might cause alignment issues for pv stsyems if it happened again
        then of course why the HELL would we be selling power to asia when were going to be having shortages and blackouts ADMITTED for Vic n SA this summer.
        frankly the cityfolks deserve the blackouts to wake em up
        but when you need power to fight fires using pumps for borewater, not for luxury like aircon..its lot different
        Im so wildly angry
        were flogging off our natgas for cents per kilojoule to asia
        yet we cop near imported petrol prices per litre for our cars n trucks running on it
        and our turbines etc for power gen
        and no we dont need to frack onshore when we have offshore fields there thanks.
        NTgovt is in the crapper now over the 99yr lease to china for their port
        mil and other interests ie ussa want it taken back
        mainly cos your mil madmen wanna put a base and missile launch system on OUR land
        funny how usa wanting to make us a nice target is enough to get them looking to revoke the lease?

      • In what world has nuclear proven to be unreliable? Not this one.

        There is nothing clean about wind or solar.

      • I live in Sweden where 50+ % of electricity comes from nuclear plants, and has done so for about 40 years. Nuclear plants do need careful maintenance (as do all power plants) but has proven to be extremely reliable.

        The only form of power that is even more reliable (and needs much less maintenance) is hydro power.

        • I am a hydropower engineer. I can assure you that nuclear stations are more than 100 times safer than dams. Dam failures have killed more than 250,000 people.

          If you shut down a nuclear station in an organised fashion, and nobody goes near it, nobody will get hurt. If you abandon a large dam, it will eventually fail and may drown millions of people.

          • like Fukushima …
            Uranium ressources are limited . You cannot build nuclear plants for ever. Radioactive rubbish will still represent an issue in 1000 years !!!

          • Uranium can be extracted from seawater for about $300 per pound. While technically limited and not renewable, the resource is sufficient for many thousands of years. And there are other fertile / fissionable elements such as plutonium and thorium.

            Regardless, it’s utterly impractical to transmit electricity four thousand kilometres under the ocean. Unless you first invent a room temperature superconductor.

          • According to the United Nations committee on the effects of nuclear radiation no one has, or will, die of radiation from Fukushima. More than 1000 died as a result of panic driven unnecessary evacuations and heat strokes caused by shutting down other safe nuclear stations and causing power cuts.

          • Hubert, suggest you google thorium reactor. Or ask your 7th grade science teacher to help you look it up.

          • Please post any links you are aware of, to information on currently operating thorium fuelled reactors. They are probably theoretically the best fission reactor, granted, almost certainly cheaper than 4000 km of cable. But that’s a false dichotomy that doesn’t include all the other possibilities inclusing turning Singapore back into the small, sustainable fishing village it once was.

    • Malaysia and Singapore are rivals, Singapore will never put their energy dependence on Malaysia. It’s for that reason that Singapore has spent billions to build desalination plants, and billions to build an LNG port.

    • In this case, “burns” could be the end result. (certainly of the money involved).

      The money, it burns.

  3. Wow. If they think electricity from modern gas turbine-combined cycle stations is expensive, wait ’til they see the bills from this clunker. Batteries? 4,000 km of underwater cables? Solar cells in Australia, where they have the windstorms?

    No wonder the financing is not yet established. Good luck…

  4. They have got to be joking?

    Singapore needs a reliable supply day and night. Solar power is good for about six hours per day. What is going to provide all the power the rest of the time? What is going to provide the power on a cloudy day or during a duststorm?

    The cable will cost at least $300,000/ km – a total of ~ $1.2 billion for a single cable– and two will probably be needed.

    Singapore would be far better off with small modular nuclear reactors that are safe, cheap, and reliable.

    • Lighting up daytime Singapore with daytime solar power from Australia is a doozy, but humor is lost on “greens”

    • Correct..Having some experience with connecting solar farms to the grid. Trying to transport 10 GW of power, 3,600km will be not economically feasible. Mind you that ,nominal,10 GW is only good for about one hour at midday. The output dramatically rises and drops off as the sun moves overhead. High temperatures will cut the peak output to around 80%. The best solar farms are only operating at around 25% of their nameplate ratings, in terms of GWhrs delivered.

  5. If they are going to install millions of these solar panels in OZ, they may as well use a solar panel that utilizes all the thermal heat that is wasted and make fresh potable water as an extra. The solar panel still generates the same electricity regardless of the thermal heat being used to filter fresh potable water through a low tech evaporative desalination process.

    Since the solar panel gets hot roasting out in the sunlight all day, salty or brine water is heated with the panel and the water vapor wafts through a porous polystyrene membrane that filters out salt and other contaminants, allowing clean water to condense on the other side. The article below says it would generate 1.7 L per hour per panel. If you have a million panels, then that starts to add up to a small chunk of potable water they could use for a commercial use like agriculture or sell on the market. Water is becoming valuable too, and if these panels could do double duty, then maybe there is a bit more value to this exercise.

    This is still a prototype from the article below, so not sure of the final specs. Don’t yell at me…

    • The only problem with the idea of using the panels to supply potable water as well as electricity is that they will be hundreds of miles from a reliable supply of feed water. Further, they are probably more than a thousand miles from where the potable water can be properly utilised. All of this amounts to a major project on its own, and it all hangs on the long term viability of the solar power scheme. I don’t think such a scheme is likely to fly.

      • Maybe just to clean the million isn’t a huge amount of water, but would be drinking quality potable water from any dirty water supply. Maybe 10-15 gallons a day per panel depending how efficient this process is and how many installed panels. There is usually some sort of ground water available in a desert via drilling wells etc, but may be brackish which would be ideal for this process. Could also catch any rain water and dew etc, so maybe more.

        It is an interesting concept that should be explored, more I think for third world conditions where their water is either in short supply, real dirty and very expensive to obtain. The Israelis use drip irrigation in intensive agriculture operations and make their water go a long way, so perhaps there could be some type of intensive local horticulture operation along with this solar idea. At least there would be some extra productive use of the solar panel concept with may have some utility other than expensive electricity.

        • Unfortunately the site is well outside the Great Artesian Basin, and I rather doubt that there is much groundwater in this area. There is certainly some up in Kimberley but that is a long way off.

      • Well…

        A desert area can be immensely fertile – if you can get water to the land. I don’t know the geology of the Australian desert, but we here in Arizona grow a lot of wheat, citrus, nuts, etc. So do the desert areas of southern California.

        If you can contemplate building a 3,800 kilometer high power cable under the ocean, the idea of running a few hundred miles of pipeline / aqueduct to the ocean isn’t a big stretch at all. (The joker, of course, would be whether the energy required for pumping is too big of a bite out of the power generated.)

        Supplying power when the sun don’t shine seems to be “handled” by a rather enormous battery farm. Now, does anyone ever contemplate that your battery farm has to be air-conditioned in the middle of a hot desert summer? (Accidentally leave your cell phone out on the workbench this time of year in Tucson. Pick it up a couple of hours later, and your 98% charge is down to 6%. My own stupid fault…)

        • There’s at least 15 rare birds in that area…and we can kiss the last of the wild Lady Gouldians good bye

        • In that part of the desert the rainfall varies between 44” and 8”
          66% of it falls over 3 months during The Wet
          The evaporation rate is up to 10 feet per year, the soil is poor.

          • Pipe in water from where it can be piped and pumped in from, distill it, and use it for agriculture. Such as growing something that people will pay for, and that grows like weeds with warmth and lots of sunshine. Grow something that will be profitable enough to fund growing less-profitable plants that fertilize the soil these plants will be growing in.

          • pop is around 3,200 and most of those are miners FIFO.
            some own the supply/shops
            the rest are indigenous and prob live around not in the township
            its another of our Ass end of nowhere places

  6. So there will be no light after sundown? Considering Australia was silly enough to spend huge bucks on a Tesla battery that keeps the lights on for what, 5 minutes maybe, I don’t think I’d buy power from them. I like living in a country with reliable electricity. Guess not everyone does.

    • Betraying your own stupidity if you think that is what that battery does. Good luck with the superiority thing , the renewable disease and all its downstream affictions seems pretty widespread.

    • The battery has worked out very well, and has maintained grid frequency much better than a fossil fuel only system did.

      • isn’t the battery there to give standby generators time to start?
        or am I thinking about other locations that do that.

        • No, the battery is probably there to overcome the “burstiness” of wind which can be generating hundreds of megawatts one minute, and next to nothing a few minutes later before the next burst. Think the eye of a hurricane for an extreme example. For solar imagine passing clouds.

          Note that Elon Musk et al have been less than forthcoming about what the battery is good for. That in itself should be a clue that the damn thing is probably oversold even though it’s quite likely useful enough to justify the cost.

      • And to spread out 10 GW during 6 hrs/day to 2.5 GW 24 hrs/day you would only need about 350 similar batteries costing about $30 billions.

  7. Without doubt the dumbest most complicated means of producing power for Singapore.
    No mention, as per usual , of actual production – just a claim that there will be a capacity
    of 10 gigawatts, which will exist for a small portion of time at high noon, assuming no clouds.
    and where will Singapore get its backup power from? No mention of actual outputs. Battery capacity also not mentioned but can’t provide max power for any extended period.
    10 gigawatts of solar capacity generally translates to 50 or 60 gigawatt hours per day depending upon irradiance. That means it averages roughly 2 to 2 1/2 gigawatts during 24 hours. One can build the equivalent power capacity using small molten salt modular reactors, which cost roughly $2.5 billion for a gigawatt of continuous power or roughly $6 billion to produce the required 2 1/2 gigawatts of average power .It will require smaller and cheaper batteries to allow for the reactors ‘ power to be concentrated as necessary during the day and night. Unlike the solar system, it will not require costly backup power generation. And it can be accomplished sooner than this project. And Singapore will have no dependence upon Australia. The molten salt nuclear reactors will be probably 5 times cheaper than the solar system described.

    • …roughly $2.5 billion for a gigawatt. Ok, maybe if it’s been done already for near that, otherwise it might be 25 billion by the end of the first year of actual operation. Still maybe a better chance of a nuclear moon shot project than an undersea cable and battery.

    • “One can build the equivalent power capacity using small molten salt modular reactors, which cost roughly $2.5 billion for a gigawatt of continuous power or roughly $6 billion to produce the required 2 1/2 gigawatts of average power”

      Do you have some examples of where this has been done? Or did you just make this up?

  8. Singapore is surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia. I don’t know how they’re going to get the power from Australia to Singapore without going through one or both of those countries. That leaves Singapore dependent on Malaysia and/or Indonesia. map

      • There is no international water around Singapore. The cable will have to be laid across the Indonesian (and perhaps Malaysian) EEZ.

  9. And so is written the epitaph on cheap power prices in Singapore. These guys need to look pragmatically at the impact of renewables on power prices, the greater the penetration of wind and solar into our grids, the higher the electricity price. They want to swap thermal power generators at their doorstep in return for unreliable, intermittent electrons coming down a 3800km power line. Where previously Singapore’s grid costs (for local generators) was negligible, they can now enjoy an impost that will ~double (?) the power cost, particularly bearing in mind submarine cables can cost as much as ten times that of conventional overhead transmission. For what?. To swap the relatively negligible physical footprint of a thermal fleet for a 15,000 Ha solar farm. That’s 150Km2!. With the requirement to capture the latency in the system, the true capital cost is that of the solar installation and cable, and 10 Gw of conventional generation capacity.
    Coincidentally, Singapore Power Group has recently introduced “Green” credits, where you can “buy” renewable energy. The final line of this article, where Australia plans to export more “Green Energy” in place of LNG and coal is not supported by the facts, where Australia is about to become the worlds largest LNG supplier, and has exported increasing tonnages of both thermal and metallurgical coal every year.

  10. There is a rather significant tectonic plate boundary between origin and destination.
    Are they designing some sort of undersea structure to cope with this?
    The map “Sunlight in Australia” doesn’t seem to be related to the subject. The centre of the green circle is in WA, out in the Great Sandy Desert. How they going to keep the dust off the screens?

    • I think they will probably route via Perth and follow the comms cables to skirt that inconvenience. That will sort of blow the 3800km thing though.

  11. Atlantropa, Desertec take 2 ? Like North Africa was supposed to power Europe.

    Somehow didn’t work out, almost flat-spined Siemens in the process.

    Truckloads of money will change owners without further effect. And that’s it.

  12. Dare I ask how long the batteries will supply power for at night or cloudy days? How much CO2 and fossil fuel is required to manufacture and install the solar panels and the 3,800 km of cabling? What will be the power loss over 3,800km of power cable and the horrendous environmental damage caused by its manufacture, installation and disposal at end of life? Who will take responsibility when it fails and they have blackouts? Also, as they will require fossil fuel powered back-up why don’t they just stick with the cheaper, gas fired power stations they are still going to require anyway?

    • The daytime temperatures out there will be horrendous. And I’m pretty sure the batteries will need to be air conditioned to a low temperature. I get the feeling that a lot of power will be used just to keep the thing from burning a hole to China.

      • It might be a good idea to use sodium-sulfur batteries. They operate at 300 degrees C. The largest existing plant in Japan has a capacity of 50 MW for two hours.

        If we assume that those 10 GW during 6 hours is to be spread out as 2.5 GW during 24 hours it would take 450 Tsukuba-sized batteries. They are good for about 2500 cycles, so would have to be replaced over about 7 years, or a little more than one new battery per week.

  13. The fact that an article like that can get written AND published confirms the sheer stupidity of journalists and editors. Once upon a time they would have asked pertinent questions like “what will be the delivered cost of the power?” and “what is the loss factor on the cable running from Australia to Singapore?”. Now they just regurgitate any press release, no matter how moronic. And then they wonder why they lose readers.

  14. Let Singapore and Australia try it out. If it works and makes sense economically then we’ll copy it in the American Southwest. If it doesn’t work then it’s their loss… not ours.

    • I have a better idea.

      Move Singapore to northern Australia. Give it the land and let it be completely independent of Australia. It would be beneficial to everyone.

  15. If we simply strip mine the entirety of the earth, then cover it with solar panels and bird chopping windmills, we can save the planet from humanity!

  16. “The article below says it would generate 1.7 L per hour per panel. If you have a million panels, then that starts to add up to a small chunk of potable water they could use for a commercial use like agriculture or sell on the market. ”

    or to wash the panels.

  17. Screw the desert ecosystem, eh? I don’t want to live there and it isn’t making anyone any money, so it isn’t worth anything. We can use it to, um…save ecosystems!!!

    …And the head of political correctness disappears one more inch up its own arse.

    • Spot on. That would be the simple option and there might be a chance some solar power from Australia could even supply the new nation state moved there with a bit of energy.

      • What is the point of posts like these? The total value of residential real estate in Singapore is $1T. Commercial and industrial real estate will be worth at least half that much if not more. And you expect Singapore to just abandon that investment?

        Singapore is in the center of ASEAN, it’s geographical location is the main reason for its prosperity. And you are suggesting they give that up?

  18. The transmission loss for high voltage lines ranges from 0.5% to 1.1% per 160 km. The minimum loss over 3,800 km is then 11.2%, and the maximum 23%. T. Boone Pickens wouldn’t build his wind farms in Texas unless someone else paid for transmission lines to carry the power to…faraway Oklahoma! Sending power 3,800 km is more like generating electricity in New York and sending it by wire to California!

    This is absolutely nuts. Better to use the power to synthesize methane from captured CO2 and electrolytically produced hydrogen via the Sabatier reaction, and ship it to the (existing) Singapore natural gas-fired power plants. Even then, the economics are anything but assured.

    • Not to overlook the up to 25% energy losses from converting Direct Current electricity to Alternating Current to enable sending energy long distance.

      Fifty percent energy losses before Singapore gets usable energy.
      What will be the cost of that electricity at their sockets?

      One suspects this is a renewable energy dodge, much like ones already in use in America and Europe.
      Specifically, the dodge where once renewable energy enters a general transmission line, all users interconnected can claim their energy usage is renewable energy?

  19. Wow. Tennant Creek (pop. 3,000) looks to be on the northern edge of the middle of nowhere. Google maps Sat. view shows what looks to be hard desert. Many town are shown which have no road to them at all. Possibly mining towns with dirt roads, or classic “you just have to know the way”. The only road out to the south is to Alice Springs, several hundred miles away.
    Great place for a solar installation, I guess.
    These projects keep failing, and people keep building them.

      • he’ll like it
        and flimflam will invest pdq
        turney would be a a natch for promoting ice he can have problems with;-)

    • Yes, a very, very long under sea cable that would have very huge HVDC cable losses including from the rectification to AC/DC/AC. If they really wanted to use the OZ outback for solar generation, it would be much better to make a long term deal between Indonesia and Singapore, and take the HVDC cabe to Indonesia and use those electrons to power up part of Indonesia and then Indonesia sends a similar amount of their electrons on to Singapore after accounting for losses. The electrons go to the nearest load if designed to do so on the same circuit, so in effect OZ is is still selling the power to Singapore…it is just being cascaded down the line so to speak and becomes a bookkeeping exercise. The batteries would have to be located in OZ, and then the base load firm energy would be a lot lower than the peak output at noon. This is the way that selling large blocks of power can work thru multiple national utility’s such as BC Hydro selling electricity through WA and OR to California.

      • Why lose energy in line loss and have to have 3x the transmission capacity for use 1/3 of the day and idle 2/3?

        It’s a moot point, the company is probably too small to attempt the project. More likely they will buy power much closer.

      • Decisions decisions…always damn decisions but first the environmental impact study and whether we’d be colonising and oppressing an LDC with Western capitalism and Green racism.

  20. This will be great for generating electricity from 6am to 3pm in Singapore… I.e. when nobody is needing the electricity.

    • when nobody is needing the electricity.
      Except those who run air conditioning, which must be >90% of the population now; when I lived there – 1995 or so – many bus stops were getting air conditioning, and non-A/C buses were cheaper to ride . . .


  21. The claim on the map image says that it will “Supply all of Australia’s and the worlds electricity”. I suppose if you are out to tell a lie, make it the biggest lie imaginable….but how could it ever get past the editors.

    • If wishes were horses I’d wear one by my side,
      If onions were watches beggars would ride.

      Something not quite right hear.

  22. I hope I live long enough to see the aftermath of millions of spent, dead, solar panels and how they get disposed, or just abandoned .

  23. Perhaps someone should google DC electricity before they spend their first few billion on this project…….?
    DC current which they are proposing doesn’t travel too well.

    • DC is ideal and the only option for long distance transmission by cable.

      (I am a power systems engineer)

      • Then why did Edison’s DC system require generators every couple of miles, while Tesla’s AC system could have the generators hundreds of miles away? BTW you cannot increase/decrease voltage of a DC current. Transformers only work with AC current.

        • Tesla’s system was low voltage which meant it needed high current.
          There’s a big difference between long distance distribution and local distribution.

        • In Edison’s day, DC had to be used at the voltage it was generated at. Therefore you couldn’t have high voltages for long-distance transmission. So alternating current, with a voltage could be changed in a transformer, was the best choice.

          Now we have high-voltage DC – up to 750 kV – that is converted from AC to DC and back again using electronic converters. Over long distances, this is more efficient and cheaper than AC transmission.

  24. Anyone contemplating a project such as the one described in the story should make sure WUWT finds out about it. The denizens of WUWT will gleefully point out all the glaringly obvious problems involved. It would save a bunch of money that might otherwise have to be spent on engineering and planning. It’s kinda like how President Trump uses the media to vet his nominations. link

  25. “Supply all of Australia’s and the worlds electricity” …..from the map image. Wow, how could the media allow such fake claims to be published as news, 1984 has been and surpassed.

    • Golly I’ve done it again, sorry…I forget that comments do not instantly appear, and thinking I did something wrong, I post my point again. My first comment is a few comments above.

  26. Solar power from Australia to light up Singapore

    lol. When the sun is shining in Australia but not at night?

    I was under the impression that Singapore is actually one of the most sensible capitalist nations in the world.
    Maybe this is just a marketing puff piece by those who want to sell Singapore such rubbish. I guess it really shows how the economic boot is now increasingly on a different foot.

    • You know what happens when the guy with all the great ideas and makes billions and gives control to his kids…then he dies and the kids and grandkids proceed to screw it all up? Singapore.

  27. Think of the UHI effect of such a large area of black. Central Australia is already hot enough – the last thing it needs is the largest heat absorber ever built

    • All good, everything out there ends up covered in red dust anyway. It wont be black for very long.

  28. How many GW hrs of battery storage, and why locate the batteries in Australia. Surely they would be better in Singapore?

  29. And if it gets built, no power generated will be used in Australia. Our Govn’t has just had to have a chat with Trump to secure millions of barrels of oil.

    • yeah while we have a huge oilbasin mid SA..and they went very quiet about it after months of promoting it heavily
      same shit OS usa would be doing the setup and making the money
      meanwhile we have sfa storages and a less than 30day supply of petrol or diesel
      and if we keep OUR noses our of the mid east, we shouldnt have supply issues

  30. Aaaah, there’ll be sacred sites, endangered moths and newts etc to stop the farm. Won’t there?

  31. This location has very good solar resource. Tracking arrays will do much better than the 6.5 hours per day average depicted on the map. The average increases to about 9 hours full sunshine per day with tracking array:
    The output would not change much over a year because the loss in efficiency with rising temperature in the higher insolation period would reduce the output to a similar level to the lower insolation period.

    This region does not get much cloud. There is little variation in insolation between best and worst days during the lower sunshine months:

    Tracking arrays have almost constant output from 9am to 3pm so, allowing for the time shift, this site could cover the morning peak in Singapore.

    If there is a benefit, it would be related to the cost of gas and resultant fuel saving. At current gas prices in Asia approaching USD20/GJ (say USD180/MWhe), I expect this project will have economic merit despite the engineering challenges. It is unlikely LNG prices will fall in Asia.

    • Tracking panels…………gee we better double the initial build cost nd maintenance estimate.

      Probably best to have the batteries here in Oz as it is hotter and far more humid in Singapore.

      The dust would be the real killer here, very dry and dusty conditions, its real desert not that fake stuff, the costs of construction would be eyewatering and then there is the tropical storms which sweep across from the NW shelf, they have a habit of causing flooding out there in the desert so you simply cannot just plonk a few million panels anywhere you like.

      Suggest this is the usual BS from the media to keep the believer flock in check

      • I expect most large scale SSFs in Australia will use tracking arrays on at least one axis. The 333MW Darlington Point SSF will have single axis tracking arrays.

        Without tracking ability, the SSFs in Australia have limited opportunity to generate. They are already curtailing lunchtime output during the peak of rooftop solar when wholesale price goes negative. That will occur more often as rooftop capacity steadily increases.

        With tracking arrays, they should be able to generate enough in the morning and afternoon to make money. Those without tracking will only be able to deliver energy when the market is swamped with rooftop and prices collapse. The price of LGCs is so low now that they can no longer afford to send out power when the wholesale price goes negative. The coal plants know that they can keep generating and hurt the subsidy farmers rather than bearing the cost of taking plant off line.

        Lunchtime power in Qld was down to AUD26/MWh on Monday 5th. Lunchtime power is forecast to be -AUD133/MWh on Tuesday 6th. These negative costs are becoming more frequent and SSF proponents have to be making forward projections.

        While negative pricing for lunchtime power may not be relevant for Singapore, tracking technology is being increasing used in Australia and will certainly improve the economics of any large scale solar installation in Australia no matter what market it is supplying.

      • Square kilometre after square kilometre of tracking panels operating in the desert, just imagine the maintenance. Restarting after a dust storm would be fun 🙂

  32. Look for any image of Singapore at night and they may be better off reducing their power needs rather than having their [power] cake and eating it too.

    Not much chance of a reduction so we have to have these wild-a$$ schemes that sound good from a clean, green perspective but no change in lifestyle.

    • wont be able to help them much at night with Tennant Creek being 90 mins ahead of Singapore

      I guess thats were the fantasy batteries kick in

  33. As other posters have noted there is so much bad with this idea. It really doesn’t make sense to just pick a few thing, but here goes. Supposedly this project would provide 1/5 of Singapore’s annual power need. Since many hours it would be zero, that would mean some hours it would be providing 40 or more percent of the total power. All that power coming in at one point would (without incredibly costly redundancy) , under a single contingency. So Singapore would have to have considerable amount of spinning resume ready to pick up should that source disappear.

    The “proposed” project is longer the the longest current HVDC line by almost 60%. It seems unlikely the billions for the tranmsissi N component are in the cited total.

  34. The Plastic Paradise of Singapore’s days are numbered. People LOVE IT!!!!, but if you can see through the fakery and the numbers that “just don’t add up” you would have written it off in 2018, 2019 at the latest.

    Singapore will implode BEFORE there is an “Ice free summer in the arctic”. I would bet my own (not other peoples) money on it.

    This Muskian virtue signalling is to divert attention from fact it is the most expensive place to live on earth and their workforce is bussed in daily from Malaysia and bussed back at night. Massive job layoffs are looming on the horizon. But keep those fake smiles coming, Singaporeans. Wave and smile.

  35. Surely this is a joke, up there with perpetual motion machines. Besides all the problems mentioned above, the face panels will surely be etched by the highly abrasive dust carried by the almost perpetual winds. Efficiency will be considerably reduced in months. This is one of the most unpleasant places on earth (and I have been everywhere). The wind blows all the time except for short periods at dawn and dusk. And as for battery storage – they must be joking.

  36. There is old oil all over the region. Maybe not right in SIngapore, but all over indonesia.
    Couldn’t they just frack the **** out of it, like Texas has, and have 10 years of Gas? In Ten years they could have a new design Nuke they could plop down on one of those nasty polluted islands off the southern shore.

  37. “The solar farm could make the most of the outback’s clear skies and bright sunshine.”

    During The Wet?

  38. The Northern Territory project to power Singapore, however, is still at a relatively early stage of planning.

    After a long lunch.

  39. What percentage of the power is going to be lost over those 3800km?

    Heck with providing enough power to replace the solar panels, will this “project” ever provide enough power to replace a 3800km cable?

    • I think 3800km is a fairly optimistic great circle distance , I doubt it will “only” be that long.

      I hope the have included the inevitable Australian Government Sunshine Tax.

  40. I wonder if Singapore is virtue-signaling because they might be getting embarrassed about having banned the song “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, on the basis that song supposedly promotes homosexuality. Singapore ranks low worldwide for political freedom.

  41. You don’t have to be an energy engineer to understand that solar and wind are not reliable sources. Why do they keep being used as solutions?

  42. If you can actually make any sense of the numbers (its all a bit Musk-ese in its vagueness, largesse and odd use of units) this seems to be about 2-3 times bigger than anything else in existence, both in terms of distance and power levels. It will be interesting to see if it gets beyond the shearing the early investors stage.

  43. Dust storm engulfs Tennant Creek
    Posted 28 Feb 2005, 11:46pm

    A thick dust storm has hit the outback Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek, reducing visibility to just a few metres.

    Bureau of Meteorology observer, James Richardson, says the Barkly region’s dry February may have contributed to the amount of dust that the storm has shifted.

    He says only 14.6 millimetres of rain has fallen in the region during the month compared to the average of 130mm.

    Mr Richardson says the storm hit Tennant Creek late this afternoon but he expects it to pass through.

    “From the north-east, it come in and we could see it at about two in the afternoon on the horizon,” he said.

    “It’ll keep going past us and hopefully it will disappear.”

  44. “4 years to line up the financing”….400 would be more like it. If they think proposing this boondoggle will help negotiate better LNG prices they’re as dumb as the proposed project.

  45. Why does Singapore need an commuter for solar panels energy from Australia:

    Because Singapore doesn’t need affordable energy. Singapore needs Status Symbols, excessive expensive regardless if it’s “renewable energy”:

    Status in Singapore:


    family office / wealth management / personal bankers

    access to private jets, yachts

    length of address

    ownership of capital


    type of credit card

    flying first class

    elite alma maters

    high % of degrees in the family

    private/expensive childhood education

    country club membership(s)

    employing a full-time chauffeur

    frequent coffee at fullerton / other hotels

    regular patronship of plays, operas, art galleries

    ownership of expensive watches, jewelry, suits & dresses

    expensive car ownership

    normalized overseas vacations

    frequent fancy restaurant patronage

    ‘parent scholarship’ (no bank loan post-graduation)

    atas pursuits (ballet, violin, horses)

    bottle service at clubs

    expensive daily lunch salads / avoiding food courts

    regular dental visits

    plastic surgery

    private/expensive hospitals

    ‘weekend getaways’ to regional beach spots

    frequent skydiving / scubadiving

    willingness to buy overpriced pastries at Starbucks and leave them unfinished

    diverse/detailed knowledge about food, wine, cheese, etc

    $4.5 bus rides

    accent & code-switching

    exclusive gyms / branded exercise clothing

    growing up english-speaking

    having cable TV (?)

    weekend brunches

    cocktail bars

    juice cleanse diets

    personal grooming (hair, nails, wax)

      • Chris
        “Complete nonsense, that is nothing like most Singaporean’s lives.”
        – I rather think that that is, precisely, Johann W’s point.
        Those are – mostly expensive – ‘status symbols’.

        You may like it, or you may not, but it is for real, albeit in a circle I never expect to move.
        When I lived in Singapore, I saved my pennies, so came back to the UK and paid my [London] mortgage down to – well – pennies!


  46. If only science could develop a method to transferring intelligence, common sense, morality, logic, rationality, and ethics into the brains of Leftist politicians, our problems would be solved, and insane government boondoggles like this one would never be considered…

    • Why science? Nature already has hunger, exposure, hypothermia, thirst, disease, toxins, venom, teeth, and claws.

      For anyone still not getting the message that the planet is basically hostile, statistics won’t be convincing.

  47. Amusing.

    I am not sure if the map came with the original article or not, but the text talks about Tennant Creek in the NT , while the map has a big spot 1000km in Western Australia.

  48. How much power will be lost by transmitting the electricity 3800km to Singapore?
    How much water will be required in the desert to keep 150 square km of solar panels clean?
    How long will the panels last before becoming uneconomic to operate?
    How will they dispose of 150 square km of solar panels?
    Will all the solar panels have concrete footings?
    Will the land be rehabilitated after the solar farm is closed?
    How long will the batteries last before needing replacement?

    The capacity factor of solar farms is around 20% so the average output will be about 2GB.

    A new high efficiency low emission coal plant could produce 2GB virtually 24/7 and occupy about 10 hectares and last 50+ years.

    The solar farm will occupy 15,000 hectares (150 square km) and last about 25 years.

    The insanity continues.

    • efficiency isnt a concept in this project. you would think the batteries would be near the consumers, anything in oz would be an infrastructure requirement.

      • So how much battery storage would be needed? Let’s assume it’s a sunny day and they want to store 5GW for 5 hours and the price is $200/kWh.

        5 x 1,000 x 1,000,000 x 200 = 1,000,000,000,000
        Which is a trillion dollars.

        • 5 x 5 x 1,000,000 x $200 gives a cost of $5 Billion for 25 GWh of storage. Half the cost of 1 gw nuclear capacity.

          If the cost of the cable scales from the CobraCable 0.7 GW x 300 km for $4.7 Billion, the 3800 km cable for 5 GW would run $425 billion.

          Maybe higher capacity is not any more expensive, in that case it’s still $50 billion to connect.

          Floating or undersea nuclear plants would be cheaper than the undersea cable, even if the solar plant was free.

          This thing sounds like another ‘solar roadway’sort if bad-at-math plan.

    • You would put the batteries in Australia so that the transmission cable is smaller, ie max current draw consideration of load versus max generation rate.

  49. “…you would think the batteries would be near the consumers…”

    You are proposing to site the world’s biggest incendiary bomb in the City of Singapore?

    I rather think they have more sense. This mega-batttery would need to be in the middle of the desert – and along way away from the solar panels, so it could combust without panelageddon.

    The whole article made me laugh: are we sure its intended to be taken seriously? Its great satire.

  50. Imagine running a high voltage supply line directly through one of the most seismically active regions on the planet. Call that a life time job for the cable laying industries of the region.

  51. Sounds pretty moronic to me. A 300km undersea HVDC cable has a transmission loss of about 20%. So a 3800km cable… there would be almost nothing left at the other end!

  52. Gotta see the big picture here. There are billions in government subsidies and private financing to be siphoned off before declaring the project unfeasible, and flying away in private jets. The best cons are the ones that are so big that no one will believe it’s a con. Enron comes to mind.

    I hope Al Gore invests and loses everything he has.

  53. Two nuclear power plants built locally using a modern design would supply all of Singapore’s electrical needs for 10 more years. I would build 3 smaller ones just for redundancy. No need of politics, submarine power lines, loss of power due to long transmission, batteries, or solar panels that need to be constantly replaced and last no more than 20 years. Using MSR, waste is almost eliminated.

    One large dust storm and loss of panels, and loss of power. One long cloudy period, loss of electricity. One mistake dragging the ocean, loss of power.

    I cannot imagine the risk assessment of this project ever giving the green light.

    But NOOooo, let’s go cover our desert landscapes with fragile glass panels, and build all the roads and infrastructure to maintain them, and create huge piles of glass scrap embedded with dangerous heavy metals instead.

    • Robert –
      “solar panels that need to be constantly replaced and last no more than 20 years.”
      I guess the ‘twenty years’ is from the marketing-to-mugs brochure.
      Everything I have read here on WUWT indicates a shorter [perhaps drastically shorter] lifespan.
      But it will guarantee green jobs in [Chinese? Vietnamese?] Solar Panel factories, seemingly for ever!


      • There are a few types of aolar PV cells. The output of silicon cells will drop by up to 0.007 per year / 15% in 20 years and the efficiency of new panels has steadily improved.

        Where space is at a premium and more power is desired it might be worth replacing in 20 years, but most won’t actually stop working for 50 years or more.

        Of course “Grapefruit sized hail” that smashes up cars can also break panels.

  54. Nothing wrong with putting solar panels out in the desert, but 3,800 km of underwater cable is definitely a project-killer. Why don’t the Australians use the solar panels to supply power to an Australian city along the coast?

    • A few years ago one of the rural electrification organisations told me that solar power was much more expensive than diesel power. This was confirmed when I was trying to run a nature reserve island on solar power. Diesels were cheaper.

  55. And where is the power coming from to produce all these solar panels and their associated interconnection and support framing parts?

    Ooh, Ooh, I know, Chinese coal fired power plants!!!

  56. It’s ironic because Singapore sets fuel prices for oil, petrol and diesel. Now we want to deliver solar power to them?

  57. I am not an engineer but I do understand there would be transmission losses. what would they be over 4000 odd kilometres of cable? And what would Singapore use when Oz is in darkness? And there are some truly spectacular dust storms but the real killer would be the routine acretion of dust that happens all the time in effectively a desert.

    • If the batteries were in Australia, and there were enough of them, the cable major need to transmit only 30% or so of the installed capacity of solar cells. But the batteries would be impossibly expensive.

      You are right that dust storms would be a major problem. It doesn’t take all that much dust to knock them back by 30%. Hordes of work for the teeming locals cleaning the glass.

  58. I believe terms like “15,000 hectares” are disingenuous. Most people have no sense for what that means. I used google and discovered that it is an area 5.8×10 miles. Less than 60 sections of land. I think for most people, square miles or even square km is a more understandable term. I think hectares is used to make land area seem larger than it is.

  59. Meanwhile businesses in Victoria Australia are installing backup diesel generators due to “when, not if” predicted power blackouts due to the fixation with the imaginary “renewables solution” the state government there has.

    • It’s common for farms, homes and businesses, hospitals, and critical infrastructure in Canada to have backup generators, especially in the 99% of the country where freezing to death in a winter power outage is a real possibility. I consider it part of the price we pay for living where there isn’t the most venemous… everything.

      Long power outages are far less common here now than 30 years ago, because the equipment is better.

    • Most of our blackouts happen when equipment fails, or when ice, wind, or stupid people knock down utility poles.

      And we already have the backup generators and a backup natural gas energy grid. ‘Cause we aren’t going to join the helpless whiners crying ‘climate change’ every time there’s a little deadly Canadian weather and the roads are closed.

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