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Solar Power Cable is Viable for Indonesia

A private consultant believes an undersea cable to export solar power from the North West to Indonesia is financially viable even with its likely $6 billion to $10 billion construction cost.

Geoff James, a consultant hired by Pilbara Development Commission, toldWestBusiness the ambitious subsea cable project would establish an underwater link to transport solar power from the Pilbara and Kimberley to Java in Indonesia.

He will deliver a pre-feasibility study to the commission in January as to whether it would be possible to build a 2000km underwater cable to supply the Indonesian market with renewable energy from Australia’s North West.

Mr James said he believed the project was financially viable and would be possible within the decade.

“We have been assisted by project partners who have advised us that it is a ‘technical stretch’ but it is quite feasible,” he said.

“The technology does exist and it has been trialled at various lengths, various scales, various depths across the globe. They are developing the technology very rapidly.”

The project would require a solar power panel farm with a radius of between 10km and 15km to be built in the Pilbara and Kimberley, and a high-voltage direct cable-transmission route stretching from the Pilbara through the Kimberley and on to Java.

Mr James said at least 2000km of the cable would stretch underwater.

Mr James said the subsea element was being developed in consultation with Basslink and a silent project partner.

Mr James said the mostsignificant hurdle for the project was the trade relationship with Indonesia.

“This could be our key pillar of our relationship with Indonesia, a symbol of mutual benefit, the ability to improve its clean energy and meet its very ambitious growth targets,” he said.

“The main challenges are the relationships and the business models to make this work.”

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