Link to export solar from WA to Indonesia could be viable

The development of a 2000km sub-sea cable to supply Indonesia with solar power generated in Australia’s north-west has been described as financially viable and possible within the decade.

The West Australian reports that a private consultant, hired by the Pilbara Development Commission, is investigating the establishment of an underwater link to transport solar from the Pilbara and Kimberley to Java in Indonesia.

The consultant, named as Geoff James, is due to deliver a pre-feasibility study to the commission in January as to whether the ambitious project is possible, in particular the 2000km underwater power link.

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

Reportedly, the project would also require a substantial solar farm to be built in the Pilbara and Kimberley, as well as the high-voltage direct cable-transmission route stretching from the Pilbara through the Kimberley and on to Java.

James said the subsea part of the cable – 2000-odd km of it – would be developed in consultation with Basslink and a silent project partner.

News of the proposed international interconnector coincides with the findings of an independent investigation into the outage of Basslink’s undersea cable linking Tasmania with the Australian mainland.

Basslink CEO Malcolm Eccles said on Monday that the CCI investigation had concluded that it was not possible to determine the cause of the fault.

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