Billionaire rescues Sun Cable renewables project to export solar power from Australia to Singapore

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SYDNEY: The collapsed US$20 billion Sun Cable renewable energy project has been rescued by part owner and Australian technology entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, the company's administrators said on Friday (May 26).

Voluntary administrators of Sun Cable will now work with Helietta Holdings 1 Pty Ltd, an entity affiliated with Cannon-Brookes' Grok Ventures, to complete the transaction, they said in a statement.

Completion of the deal is expected to occur on or before the end of July.

The value of the sale was not disclosed but the transaction is expected to allow the unsecured creditors of Sun Cable to be paid in full.

"A big step in the right direction. We've always believed in the possibilities Sun Cable presents in exporting our boundless sunshine, and what it could mean for Australia," Cannon-Brookes said in a statement.

"It's time to stretch our country's ambition. We need to take big swings if we are going to be a renewable energy superpower. So swing we will."

Sun Cable's mega project includes the proposed Australia-Asia PowerLink, which would send power from a 20 gigawatt (GW) solar farm with the world's biggest battery in northern Australia across a 4,200km long undersea cable to Singapore.

Grok intends to push ahead with PowerLink's development toward a final investment decision, with stage 1 of the project due to deliver 0.9 GW of generation into Darwin and 1.8 GW into Singapore, according to the administrator's statement.

Sun Cable was placed in administration in January after its owners failed to agree on future funding plans.

The Singapore-based firm was owned by the private firms of two of Australia's richest people, Andrew Forrest's Squadron Energy and Cannon-Brookes' Grok Ventures.

In a separate statement, Forrest said Squadron did not submit a binding offer to buy Sun Cable and would instead focus on its existing renewable energy targets.

"We remain unconvinced of the commercial viability of the Australia-Asia Powerlink but if others believe it can be achieved, we wish them all the best," he said.

Forrest had previously said Sun Cable should not push ahead with PowerLink.

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