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Citing the challenge in getting the cable it needs for an ambitious project—the Australia-Asia Power Link (AAPowerLink)—the developer, Australia’s SunCable, announced plans to build its own manufacturing plant to supply cable for the solar farm, likely in Tasmania.

Per multiple news reports, SunCable has been in the news due to a split between billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, both principals of what was called “the world’s most ambitious solar energy generation project.” The two differed over direction, and once the leadership dust settled, SunCable was bought out by a consortium led by Grok Ventures, which is owned by Cannon-Brookes. Now, the focus once again is on the AA PowerLink project that would generate solar from Australia’s Northern Territory to deliver to Darwin, and then on to Singapore.

Per the SunCable website, the project will require a lot of cable as the proposed 20 GW solar farm will need an 800-km overhead transmission line to Darwin and a 4,300 km HV cable link to Singapore and converter sites. However, all advanced HVDC subsea cable facilities are now located in the Northern Hemisphere, and to place and receive an order could take five to eight years.

SunCable wants to have its own HV cable manufacturing plant, located in Tasmania. “The Tasmania option, on paper, offers the ability to produce cables in six years’ time.” Construction of the plant would be 2025, “with the first cable produced in 2029,” with the AAPowerLink project an anchor customer.

Of note, SunCable is not entering the wire and cable industry on its own. It reported that it “is in discussions with global cable manufacturers to jointly develop, construct and operate an advanced high voltage (HV) cable manufacturing facility.” The potential site, at Bell Bay, was chosen due to its size and proximity to one of the country’s few natural deep-water ports, rail infrastructure and renewable energy infrastructure. A plant there “will help solve global supply constraints of HVDC subsea cable.”

Nexans reports that it has agreed to reserve capacity so it can supply and install high-voltage cables to SSEN Transmission to provide a transmission link from Orkney to Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands.

A press release said that capacity reservation agreement was signed by both parties for the project. The official contract, expected to be signed in the second quarter of 2024, will require approximately 100 km of 220kV AC subsea and land cables. The Orkney Islands is investing in further renewable energy projects and needs more transmission capacity so it can export energy to the Scottish transmission network.

“This agreement marks a significant milestone for Nexans and we look forward to collaborating closely with SSEN Transmission,” said Nexans Executive Vice President Pascal Radue. “The Orkney transmission link is critical for the development of renewable energy in the UK, and underscores our commitment to advancing electrification and renewable energy in the region.”

United Wire expanding operations, adds new equipment to make medical products

The Prysmian Group has signed an agreement worth approximately $952.8 million with Clean Path New York to provide submarine and land power cable systems for one of the largest transmission infrastructure projects in the United States.

A press release said that Clean Path New York is an $11 billion renewable energy project comprising 3,800 MW of wind and solar power from more than 20 new wind and solar generation resources and a new 175-mile, underground and submarine transmission link. These assets will be able to deliver more than 7.5 million megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy every year—enough to power more than 1.5 million New York households.

Clean Path New York is a public-private collaboration between Invenergy, energyRe, and the New York Power Authority. The Prysmian Group will be responsible for the design, manufacture, construction, installation, and commissioning of Clean Path New York’s high-voltage DC current) 400 KV single core cable system with XLPE insulation, conditional upon Clean Path New York issuing its notice to proceed in Spring 2024.

“We are proud to support Clean Path New York in meeting New York State’s ambitious climate goals to be 70% carbon-free by 2030,” said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects BU, Prysmian Group. “Clean Path New York is one of the largest transmission infrastructure projects to be executed in New York State and is one the first 400 kV HVDC interconnectors to be built by Prysmian around the world. This agreement reinforces Prysmian Group’s leading position in the submarine and land cable market and underlines both our continued role in and our commitment to the North American energy transition.”

Supporting the company's intent to be a leader in sustainability, Southwire has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Program.

ENERGY STAR® is a well-recognized and respected voluntary program managed by the U.S. EPA, supported by U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Natural Resources Canada, that is focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings, plants and homes.

“We’re excited to partner with ENERGY STAR, a brand that is well-recognized for energy efficiency in many of the things we use every day, like some of our Topaz® lights,” said Norman Adkins, Southwire’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). “Through its resources and collaboration with other companies who share the same commitment to proving energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR helps its partners in the industrial space. As a part of this partnership, we plan to improve energy efficiency at a faster pace throughout our company operations.”

In support of the company’s Growing Green initiative, Southwire aims to reduce its environmental footprint and maintains a deep commitment to responsible growth and actively integrating environmental priorities into its core operations.

In July 2020, Southwire announced its Carbon Zero goal to eliminate or offset all of the company’s Scope 1 – associated with fuel combustion – and Scope 2 – associated with electricity consumption – greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

As part of the program, Southwire will continue its commitment to protect the environment through the continuous improvement of its energy performance.

“At Southwire, our vision is to make our company sustainable for the next 100 years and beyond, and our partnership with ENERGY STAR is a testament to those efforts,” said Burt Fealing, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Southwire maintains a deep commitment to responsible growth and actively integrating environmental priorities into our core operations, and we look forward to creating a more sustainable planet through our partnership with ENERGY STAR.”

“By making a commitment to improved energy efficiency, Southwire is on the way to enhancing its bottom line while protecting our environment,” said Cindy Jacobs, Chief of EPA’s ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Branch.

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