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Project experience

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink

Optus Stadium

 

Building a community of solvers to help a pioneering giga-project export Australian sunshine to Singapore

 

Client: Sun Cable

Location: Darwin, Northern Territory and Singapore

Sector: Renewable energy

Services: Integrated project delivery model, technical, commercial and risk project advisory

 

PwC’s Integrated Infrastructure team is bringing together a complex and diverse community of solvers, who never stop thinking about the ways to tackle our biggest problems.

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) is a unique, groundbreaking energy project that is unmatched in its size, cost and complexity. The $30+ billion project is set to be one of the world’s largest renewable energy infrastructure projects, with a 5000km transmission system to supply Darwin and Singapore with approximately 2.5 GW of zero-carbon, reliable and competitively priced dispatchable renewable electricity.

This massive first-of-its-kind project is expected to supply up to 15% of Singapore’s electricity needs, starting from 2028 and will accelerate both Singapore and Australia’s progress towards lower emissions and climate targets. Sun Cable’s modelling shows AAPowerLink could reduce Singapore’s emissions by 6 million tonnes per year, matching the entire climate abatement gap in Singapore’s announced 2030 targets. It will also increase economic development in the Northern Territory, presenting opportunities to develop a renewable energy hub and lead the way to a new $2 billion Australian export industry in renewable energy, with the potential of creating thousands of jobs.

In recognition of the significance and importance of this project, AAPowerLink has been awarded Major Project status by the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments and has been added to Infrastructure Australia’s Priority Initiative List.

 

 

Such a complex and extensive project presents many commercial and technical challenges, in particular, through the integration of a range of technologies and construction activities across three jurisdictions and a large geographical footprint.

Early in the project, PwC Australia and Sun Cable identified these challenges and the need for an integrated project delivery model which could provide access to multiple lines of services, competencies and personnel throughout the origination, development, financial close and construction of the project.

 

 

Giga-project calls for collaboration and innovation


We brought our experience in integrated project delivery and collaborative contracting to develop an innovative integrated project delivery model for AAPowerLink, bringing together technical, commercial and risk advisory partners in an Integrated Project Delivery Team (IPDT).

Together with Sun Cable, the IPDT includes PwC as Project Advisory Partner, Marsh as Risk Management Partner and an unincorporated joint venture of Bechtel, Hatch and SMEC as Project Delivery Partner.

This unique integrated project delivery model is inspired by contracting models, such as the engineering, procurement and construction management model, delivery partner model, alliance model and managing contractor model.

It provides significant value to AAPowerLink, including access to highly specialised project resources that can be deployed rapidly. Collaborative project offices and teams will offer superior management of project risk through greater flexibility and access to a broader cross-section of the contracting market.

Forming a team that will deliver ‘best-for-project’ outcomes is a challenge, which calls for cultural and strategic alignment across the different engineering and advisory partners involved in the project. To optimise this alignment within the IPDT, we advised on the corporate structure for the AAPowerLink, developed the IPDT’s framework and charter, led the procurement processes to appoint the IPDT members and drafted and negotiated the IPDT member contracts.


Moving the project forward

Appointment of the IPDT in October 2021 was a major milestone for the technical development of the project, leading into the major capital raise and financial close (expected in FY23). It follows the highly successful initial capital raising process we led in 2019, which secured equity investment to enable the project to proceed, most notably from Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals Group’s Andrew Forrest.

In our lead role in developing the contracting and procurement strategy for AAPowerLink, we’re also helping to establish the structure of the work packages and contracting methodologies across all sections and technologies involved in the project. This is in addition to advising on legal and tax issues, multi-jurisdictional export credit financing and commercial debt financing strategies and the offtake strategy across Darwin and Singapore.

 

 

At PwC, we’re proud to be a trusted partner to Sun Cable, working with them to create a community of solvers to help bring this world-leading project to reality. We’re continuing to assist with project development, procurement of component suppliers and progress towards financial close. 

Zero-carbon electricity from the AAPowerLink is expected to become available to Darwin from 2026 and Singapore from 2027.

AAPowerLink is the first in a series of projects that will bring to life Sun Cable’s vision of creating an intercontinental power grid supplying the Asia-Pacific region with reliable and competitively priced renewable electricity.

 

Damian McNair

Partner, Integrated Infrastructure, Infrastructure Advisory, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 421 899 231

Danny Touma

Partner, Integrated Infrastructure, Environmental Transactions and Advisory, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 404 038 888

Contact us

Lachy Haynes

Partner, Integrated Infrastructure, Environmental Transactions and Advisory, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 0630

Guy Chandler

National Energy & Utilities Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 439 345 045

Clare Pope

Global Legal ESG Lead, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 402 794 090