Essay by Eric Worrall
Sun Cable, which planed to export up to 20GW of solar energy from the Australian outback to Singapore, has entered voluntary administration after an unresolvable dispute between backers.
Sun Cable collapses after dispute between billionaire investors Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes
By business reporters David Chau and Michael Janda
Sun Cable, the company behind a massive solar farm and power export project planned for the Northern Territory, has gone into voluntary administration.
- The company’s ambition was to build the world’s largest solar project
- Its plan was to build a giant 20-gigawatt solar farm in the NT
- Sun Cable also wanted to build a 4,200-kilometre-long subsea cable to Singapore
The company, whose major investors include billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, provided a vague statement about why it collapsed:
“The appointment followed the absence of alignment with the objectives of all shareholders,” it said.
“Whilst funding proposals were provided, consensus on the future direction and funding structure of the company could not be achieved.”
The ABC understands that Sun Cable’s major investors, Mr Forrest and Mr Cannon-Brookes, had disagreements about the funding and direction of the company.
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-11/sun-cable-enters-administration/101845100
I don’t have details about what went wrong, but given the gap between raised capital vs how much they needed, my guess is the problem was a dispute between the backers about how much of their own money they should invest in the project, and which bits should be built first, to keep the project moving forward.
A word to the wise:
(Source: https://zububrothers.com/2021/04/15/remembering-solyndra-a-524-million-green-energy-failure/ )
Solyndra — A Cautionary Tale
Bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Die, solar, die!
Janice, it only got half a billion of Obama loan guarantees. Only cost each US taxpayer three and a half bucks. Well worth it to try to save the planet. /s
Solar not looking so bright…
Problem seeing the Forrest through the Twiggys?
Perhaps too many babbling Brookes.
lol, Bryan A.. For the life of me, I could not come up with a little vignette about solar that involved Forrest Gump, Twiggy, and Brooke Shields. I’ll keep thinking…. lolol
Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. Their names were: “Forrest,” “Twiggy,” and “Brooke.” One day, Brooke was out tending her garden near the blue lagoon when she saw a Big Bad Wolf (his name was — **hissss** — Soluppinull, but we really don’t care what his name is because he is just plain bad).
Running back to the little clearing in the woods where Forrest and Twiggy were picking apples, Brooke cried, “Wolf! Wolf!” And Forrest and Twiggy were alarmed (for Brooke never lied — see another story for what happens when you do, boys and girls).
“What shall we do? What shall we do?” Twiggy shrieked, dropping her basket of apples.
“Well,” said Forrest slowly, scratching his head, “I think we should each build a house we can hide in.”
The other two agreed and each set to work at once, building a little house. Forrest built his of straw (because it was plentiful and right at hand). Twiggy built hers of twigs because she liked how they looked. Brooke grew up in a firefighter’s family, so, she built her house out of bricks.
Forrest and Twiggy were done long before Brooke was. They stood watching her sweating away laying bricks and chuckled and laughed at her. “What a waste of time,” they scoffed. Brooke didn’t say anything (she cursed under her breath, but, they didn’t hear her).
A few weeks later, they were all eating lunch in their respective houses when the Big! Bad! Wolf! came to town. Coming first to the house of straw, he said, “Little pig! Little pig! (he didn’t know their names — and he wouldn’t have used them if he did) Hand over the cash to fund my ‘Solar Farm!'”
Forrest (who was sitting inside watching TV and eating a box of chocolates), yelled, “No! Go away!”
“Then, I’ll huff! And I’ll puff! And I’ll blOOOOOOWWWW your house down!” yelled the wolf. And he did.
Forrest ran as fast as he could (and all the while, Twiggy called out, “Run, Forrest! Run!!!”) and dashed inside Twiggy’s house of twigs and shut the door behind him — JUST — in — time.
“Little pig! Little pig! Hand over the cash to fund my ‘Solar Farm!” yelled the wolf.
“No! Cover your costs of production from the price you charge!” shouted Twiggy.
“Then, I’ll huff! And I’ll puff! And I’ll blOOOOOOWWWW your house down!” yelled the wolf. And he did.
Forrest and Twiggy ran as fast as their legs could carry them to the Brooke’s brick house. She let them in and shut and locked the door behind them — JUST — in — time.
“Little pig! Little pig! fork over the cash to fund my ‘Solar Farm!’ NOW!!” snarled the wolf.
“No! Use your own capital, you old windbag!” called Brooke with a laugh as she poured three cups of tea and set forks beside three pieces of fresh-baked apple pie on the table where she and her two friends were sitting with their napkins in their laps.
“Then, I’ll huff! And I’ll puff! And I’ll blOOOOOOWWWW your house down!” yelled the wolf. And he didn’t. He blew and blew for many minutes. Nothing happened. Finally, he tottered over the Administration building and collapsed.
And the three little pigs sipped their tea and ate their pie and smiled and
lived happily ever after.
The moral of this story…with all his blOOOOOOWWWWing Big Bad Wolf should have built a Wind Farm instead.
“Finally, he tottered over the Administration building and” … convinced the politicians and Leftist bureaucrats to force the three little pigs to pay for his solar farm. Unlike the three little pigs, the wolf had the backing of power elites.
Sadly, given how neo-communist parties such as the “Democrats” rig elections to ensure they “win,” you are likely right, Dave.
And they did NOT live happily ever after…..
HOWEVER! Take heart, boys and girls!
Dave’s scenario is not “The End.”
In the next chapter……
“In 2024, TRUMP won!
And as long as the earth endured, data-driven policy-guided, private property-supporting, liberty-loving, candidates won.
And they lived happily ever after.
(belated edits: tottered over TO the …. and strike “the” ahead of “Brooke’s brick house”)
janice twiggys last name is forest
zero to do with usa gump
Thanks for speaking up, OSU. I had no idea … . 😄
Say, Rud. I often pray for you and your dear Patricia… . As you said, there are “good days” and not so good days with her condition. 😢
On one of the not so good days (or on a good one!), try playing this. She will remember… and just stand together, swaying to the music, just like you did all those years ago, when you two were falling in love… . Memories are temporal — love, true love, is eternal.
I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You
Performed by Elvis Presley
P.S. I realize that you are too young to have been falling in love when Elvis first recorded this tune — but, even today, there are still young couples calling this “our song.” And, I have a feeling, there always will be… .
While Blue Hawaii is one of my all time favorites ( as is Elvis), I used Led Zeppelin’s Thank You for our wedding song mainly because of the first two lines:
“If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you,
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.”
When I first heard that song way back in ’68, I thought how lucky could one be to find a love like that and committed to use that song if I was ever to be so lucky.
Well, it turned out I did find that love of my life 40 years ago, we are still together and still best friends. Life has not always been an easy ride but we’ve made it through together, and that is what it is all about.
Very happy for you, Tom B.. I LOVE hearing stories like that. That dream of mine never came true. Hearing about others whose did doesn’t take away my sadness, but, somehow, the joy of others is a soft blanket for my heart which comforts and warms.
Thank you for sharing.
We were ‘young’ and crazy and in love when I sang to my “beautiful ex-fiance” this song while in line at a Starbucks in Bali almost 20 years ago. Still works like magic….
“… at a Starbucks in Bali …”
We honeymooned on Bali, 1969. No “Starbucks”, not even a “McDonalds”.
If there’s a song my XYL relates to it’s “Sweet Caroline”.
A few years back, as my wife and I wandered toward Wertheim, I thought a Solyndra panel came into view. GoogleMap or GoogleEarth 49.759636, 9.532042.
And the local government tried to tell you that the solar “farm” enhanced the charm of countryside surrounding that lovely town, no doubt. Ugh.
(Source: https://justdreaminparadise.blogspot.com/2013/04/wertheim-freudenberg.html )
What a great rant to start the New Year with!
Happy New Year, Janice!
Waste more money….waste more time….cause more problems….play more games….yeah, baby!
Actually spending their own money? God forbid!
Australia’s Bass Link undersea cable is about 230 miles and has broken down several times, each time for an extended period, and Bass Straight is a geologically solid platform. I’d hate to think how often Sun Cable’s cable would break down, and how long it would be down for, as it is 10 times longer than Bass and runs through tectonic mega site, Volcano World.
Have to agree with you Tony, having lived in Tassie for several decades.
That said methinks that penny dropped for Twiggy and he started t appreaciate the potential scale of the downside, i.e. years of suspended revenue and having to build another transmission line from the NT to E/SE/S/SW Australia to sell power ad hoc into those markets. For a guy who chased production efficiency in iron or mining and delivery to port that would have looked dumb but hey, he is also a player in the potentially far less disruptable hydrogen game. I’ll back Twiggy well ahead of one hit wonder Mr Hyphenated man with his luxury property portfilio and his loss making tech spec.
Harvesting investors (suckers) has a bag limit.
They must have run out of other people’s money (OPM). This scheme was obviously too harebrained to sucker OPM in.
Yea, or maybe they consulted a competent Engineer who told them that the whole idea was f—ing nuts.
They run out of suckers
An excellent environmental outcome. If anyone knows Twiggy, he’s a “my way or the highway” bloke. Just look at the exodus of senior executives from his company, Fortesque Mining. I’m sure the hyphen surnamed bloke just couldn’t stand Twiggy’s arrogance in the end.
the hypehenated fool is also a rather autocratic Im always right and I have cash sort
equal powertripping crazies
What we gonna do
When the money runs out
I wish that there was something left to say
Where we going to find the eyes to see
The bright of day
Am I correct to assume “voluntary administration” in this context means bankruptcy?
Its a bit different to forced bankruptcy, I think its more they’ve decided not to go forward, so they are dissolving the company and are returning any remaining money to investors.
Kind of like US Chapter 7 vs Chapter 11?
In the U.S., its called Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Reorganization). The owners stay in control of the business (generally) while its finances are reorganized such that the business can continue while the maximum feasible return to its creditors is attempted equitably.
It’s an early stage on the path. Like Chapter 11 in the US, calling in an administrator to restructure the company so it can recover profitability.
As I understand it, yes. It certainly doesn’t mean that Twiggy and Cannon-Brookes have gone bankrupt, it means that this one company has run out of government grants and sucker cash. If it could still pay its debts, it could simply be wound up, so evidently it can’t pay its debts. Twiggy and Cannon-Brookes won’t put in the (to them) piddling amount of money needed, so the company goes into administration. As usual, the mega-rich protect themselves while others pay the price.
“….the absence of alignment with the objectives of all shareholders….”
Singapore politicians are very pragmatic. They plan on a long term basis and make rational governmental decisions, no doubt aided by the fact the PAP remains pretty much permanently in control.
“The PAP is the longest, uninterrupted governing party among multiparty parliamentary democracies in the world at 63 years as of 2022”
Singapore is an imperfect democracy IMO. Yes they have multiple parties, and don’t seem to be jailing people en-masse for publicly criticising the government, but I’ve heard from someone living there if a district votes for the wrong party, they might have problems with services like trash collection.
But yes, I do wonder exactly what negotiations the entrepreneurs thought they had with the Singapore Government. Maybe Singapore just said sure, if you run a line with 20GW to Singapore we’ll consider connecting it.
Yes Eric, it is indeed a very carefully structured ‘democracy’.
The good side of that is the resultant very careful, well thought out long term development planning, and the very efficient execution of that planning.
“Singaporean energy experts have poured cold water on plans backed by billionaires Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes to export solar power to the island nation, saying they are likely to be too expensive and impractical. ”
If Singapore was pulling the plug on their interest way back in May even though they are keen to get some green-virtue, imagine how bad the economics of Sun Cable must be.
What, no more cheap electricity?
no affordable power in aus ended when solar wind and smart meters all arrived;-(((
“ 4,200-kilometre-long subsea”
In the UK and in the Netherlands, they are nagging about the transmission loss of the offshore wind turbines, which are “only” 150km off the coast.
Did anyone make calculations on the power loss over a 4200km long cable?
As the relative cost of energy to be transmitted goes down and the relative value of said generation goes up, losses are less relevant. High-voltage AC and DC transmission lines running the lengths of Washington, Oregon and Northern California into Southern California make economic sense with low-cost hydroelectricity and other northern generation being available during high-use periods in CA.
Sure, but Sun Cable is much longer, enough to link Texas to New York, or even coast to coast in the more narrow part of the US in the south, and it’s transporting expensive and tenuous solar+battery backup power that will only be available for maximum 12hrs a day (with the batteries and good conditions and not too much peak or steady midday demand that they can’t charge the batteries enough).
For Australia, it makes more sense to build the cable in the opposite direction to feed the south west coast, but in their case it makes infinitely more sense to get their power from all of that beautiful low sulfur coal God blessed Oz with. Just build a few high-tech high efficiency supercritical coal power plants to steal the green sainthood halo and shut up the watermelons.
PS, as I was editing for clarity, I realized that with steady efficient coal power feeding the cable (that will eventually be very cheap once the world completes all the extra mining capacity being worked on), it might economic sense, if Singapore doesn’t have the space or inclination to build reliable coal power plants. A spur line could also feed hungry Jakarta and area and double the amount of customers for no significant added cost.
Sorry, just mega-project daydreaming.
It would be more energy efficient to transport the coal to Singapore.
Do said offshore wind turbines generate then transmit AC or DC?
There’s been talk of supplying solar-generated electricity from the Sahara to Europe using high voltage DC as a way of reducing transmission losses.
I just did a very quick and dirty lunch time calculation.
I looked up cable price. Found that I could get 70mm2 (which is clearly too small but this is a quick and dirty) for $A45 per m.
So, to get 4200km of this stuff? $189 million?
Yeah… that is my quick and dirty. I have spent $189 million just to get cable that is not remotely big enough for the role and nothing else. I haven’t even paid myself for the 15min of labour.
At a casual guess that $30 billion wasn’t going to go very far.
Long time coming…
Article from last May:
“Singaporean energy experts have poured cold water on plans backed by billionaires Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes to export solar power to the island nation, saying they are likely to be too expensive and impractical. “
Just a wild guess here, but perhaps someone in Singapore asked the energy company providing the solar power all 20GW remember. What will provide the peak power surge demand when the solar array in Australia was shutting down for the night and office workers getting home in Singapore wanted to cook and relax in their Air conditioned apartments?
And it looks like Darwin and the panels are roughly 2.5 hrs east according to the Sun. So Sun Cable would have a 2.5 hr head start with slowly ramping power to feed SG’s morning rush, but the sunlight power would be dying out around 4pm SG time on average, and then it’s up to the batteries but I don’t think there will be any low load periods during the day for significantly charging the batteries. Sun Cable would need wind turbines and a lot of luck to fulfill the green prophecy.
on the same day abc aus ran a hitpiece on NT cotton growers clearing land, far FAR less than the area this pair of virtuesignalling greentards were planning to bulldoze and using rain not artesian to grow it, never mention of water to clean the pv OR the heat island effect, clearing habitat etc gets mentions for the idiot solar stunt
My guess is that as soon as they started to present to banks they found that their due diligence departments had a rather different view about project feasibility, costs and risks. That meant no outside finance would be forthcoming.
It’s about 3500 km (as the crow flies) from Darwin to Singapore. Sure, we can build a high voltage transmission line through some of the most climatologically, geologically, and oceanographically challenging part of the world.
Lots of places in between are equally sunny, though I believe it rains somewhat.
But what f-wit ever thought this was a financially viable proposition?
Most likely a disagreement over how long one should pretend to believe the rules of physics and economics don’t apply. Perhaps this is an example of a pyramid scheme collapsing in infancy rather than after biking thousands of unwary rubes.
Planed = planned
Ja. Ja. The sun is going down on us.