Quantum Power Asia and ib vogt have set up a new partnership to build a 3.5 GW solar-plus-storage facility in Riau, Indonesia. The developers say the proposed $5 billion project could export solar electricity to Singapore by 2032.

Last year, Indonesia’s Directorate General of New, Renewable Energy, and Energy Conservation and the Danish Energy Agency published a study that called for 2.38 GW of solar capacity to be built in 2022, 6.7 GW of new projects by 2025, and 14.9 GW by 2030.

Now, a newly announced partnership between Quantum Power Asia and German PV developer ib vogt could see that 2022 target achieved in one fell swoop, as the pair aim to construct a $5 billion 3.5 GW solar and storage facility in Riau, Indonesia. However, rather than serving Indonesia’s renewable energy transition needs, the project development partners plan to export the plant’s 4 TWh of annually generated solar energy to Singapore. 

Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago consists of 1,796 islands between Sumatra, Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, south of Singapore. Quantum Power Asia and ib vogt plan to construct a 3.5 GW solar plant on a 4,000-hectare site in the archipelago, with a storage capacity of 12 GWh. The electricity will be exported to Singapore via an undersea cable.

The Anantara project comes in response to a request for proposals by Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) to supply and import clean energy from neighboring countries, as it looks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Once it is fully commissioned in 2032, Quantum Power Asia claims the project could cover approximately 8% of Singapore’s annual electricity needs. 

“Should we be successful in being awarded an import licence to Singapore, we will bring up to $5 billion of capital into Indonesia from Singapore, creating more than 30,000 jobs,” said QPA Managing Director and CEO Simon G. Bell. “It will also contribute significantly to Singapore’s journey towards carbon neutrality.”

Ib vogt CEO Anton Milner agreed, describing the plan as “a landmark project globally … we are confident we have submitted a compelling proposal to EMA in order to create sustainable long-term value both for Singapore and Indonesia.” 

Singapore’s Union Energy Corp. (UEC) has also partnered with the Anantara project to distribute the electricity to residential, industrial and commercial customers. 

“The recent volatility of energy prices and challenges faced by Singapore’s electricity market underscores the urgent need to review our supply of renewable energy,” said UEC CEO Ellen Teo. 

Solar-powered Singapore 

Of course, this is not the first mega-scale PV project slated to import solar energy to Singapore via undersea cables. The proposed $19.2 billion Australia-ASEAN Power Link project, the brainchild of Singapore-based Sun Cable, is set to feature at least 14 GW of prefabricated and pre-wired 5B Maverick solar panels in Australia’s Northern Territory. The project will be backed by an estimated 33 GWh of battery storage, and transported via a 3,800-kilometer, high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine cable from Darwin, Australia, to Singapore. 

Sun Cable plans to expand its proposed 14 GW PV farm.

Image: Sun Cable

Of course, the length of undersea cable between the Riau Islands and Singapore is far shorter, but given Singapore’s hunger for clean energy, there is more than enough space in the market. For example, United Arab Emirates state-owned renewables company Masdar signed a deal in January 2021 with Singapore’s Tuas Power, French energy group EDF, and Indonesian state-owned utility PT Indonesia Power to explore the development of 1.2 GW of solar and a potential storage facility in Indonesia for export to Singapore.

Currently, approximately 95% of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas.