Australian mining tycoon Andrew Forrest invests in giant solar farm
Australian mining billionaire and philanthropist Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is said to have come to the rescue of a massive and troubled solar farm in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, by agreeing to invest in the A$130 million ($88m) project.
Sydney-based Sun Brilliance has been working on a 100-megawatt solar farm at Cunderdin, about two hours east of Perth, since 2016. The company, however, has struggled to secure financing and faced snags connecting to the grid since it first proposed the project in 2016, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.
Sun Brilliance confirmed through a tweet on Friday that it had held “very positive discussions” with a “high-calibre investor” to back its project, but didn’t mention Forrester or any of its companies.
Just two weeks ago, the founder of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) grabbed headlines for backing another solar farm in Australia’s Northern Territory, which is expected to supply electricity to Singapore.
The company behind that project, Sun Cable, said Forrest’s Squadron Energy and Grok Ventures had become co-lead investors in the A$20 billion-plus development. If successful, the so called Australia-Singapore Power Link development would include a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels spread across 15,000 hectares near Tennant Creek, backed by about 22 gigawatt-hours in battery storage.
The Northern Territory plan is being developed alongside a similarly ambitious proposal for the Pilbara, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub. The proposed 15-gigawatt wind and solar hybrid plant is expected to power local industry and develop a green hydrogen manufacturing hub.
Forrester is also investing in 60 megawatt (MW) solar farm being built by Alinta Energy at Christmas Creek, which would help replace diesel generation at mines owned by Fortescue Metals.