David Griffin, chief executive of the hugely ambitious Sun Cable project, says the looming threat of carbon border adjustment taxes from governments in Europe, Asia, the US and elsewhere will turbocharge demand for clean energy in Southeast Asia, providing major opportunities to export Australia’s solar resources.
Griffin says Southeast Asian countries rely heavily on fossil fuels to generate electricity – electricity that is expensive even before border taxes. For manufacturers, this means the embodied CO2 emissions in their products are extremely high, and will therefore attract high carbon border charges, potentially pricing their products out of some major consumer markets.
That means South East Asian manufacturers will soon be crying out for affordable, clean energy, and Griffin says he is already eyeing opportunities to build more submarine transmission cables to carry Australian solar energy to the region.
The $26 billion Sun Cable project, backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, plans to build 14 gigawatts of solar capacity in the Northern Territory backed up by around 30 gigawatt hours of battery storage, and transmit the electricity generated to Singapore via a 3,750km submarine cable. When it is up and running it hopes to meet around 15 per cent of Singapore’s total electricity demand.