It looks as though the latest holder of the title, “world’s largest solar farm,” is set to be Newcastle Waters in Australia’s Northern Territory. The solar farm in the Outback will be capable of producing 10 gigawatts and will be so big that it will be able to be seen from space.
The Newcastle Waters solar farm, which will sit on a 10,000-square-kilometer (3,861-square-mile) cattle station between Alice Springs and Darwin, will cost US $20 billion. The land is very flat, which is ideal. Sun Cable is the company that will be responsible for the solar farm.
A project referral has been submitted to the Northern Territory’s Environmental Protection Authority. It’s the first stage of an approval process that will start with community consultation in late 2020, then construction commencement in late 2023, energy production by 2026, and export by 2027.
Sun Cable’s chief executive, David Griffin, said [via the Guardian]:
It’s on the Adelaide to Darwin rail corridor, which is brilliant for our logistics given the enormous amount of material we’ll have to transport to the site.
It’s a bit of a balancing act too, because it’s far south enough to get away from the main patch affected by the wet season, so it’s a steady solar resource throughout the year. There’s plenty of sun and not many clouds.
Where the power is going
Overhead transmission lines will route the power to Darwin and into the state’s power grid.
But two-thirds of the power will be exported to Singapore by high-voltage direct current undersea cables. The Newcastle Waters solar farm and Sun Cable will provide around one-fifth of Singapore’s electricity needs.
Singapore is working to move away from fossil fuels. Currently, 95% of Singapore’s electricity is produced using natural gas, while the rest is made up of coal, oil, municipal waste, and solar, reports the US Energy Information Administration.