The battle for control of failed renewable energy startup Sun Cable between billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest has been won by the Atlassian co-founder.
Sun Cable’s voluntary managers, FTI Consulting, announced Friday afternoon that they had entered into an asset sale agreement (“ASA”) with Helietta Holdings 1 Pty Ltd, an entity affiliated with Grok Ventures, the family VC fund. from Cannon-Brookes to Sun Cable Assets and subsidiaries.
The transaction is expected to allow Sun Cable’s unsecured creditors to be paid in full, FTI Consulting said in a statement. The agreement is
Grok works together with a specialist investor in renewable energy Quinbrook infrastructure partners on the deal, which is expected to close before the end of July 2023.
“It is the intention of the Buyer to continue progressing the Australia-Asia Power Link (“AAPowerLink”) project towards a final investment decision with Phase 1 to deliver 0.9 GW of generation at Darwin and 1, 8 GW in Singapore,” said FTI.
“The Administrators will work with the purchaser to facilitate the continued development of AAPowerLink through completion.”
An argument between Cannon-Brookes and Forrest over the project’s strategic direction caused the $30 billion project to be placed under voluntary trust in mid-January.
After it collapsed, Cannon-Brookes loaned the company $65 million to keep the show on the road while the trustees searched for a buyer.
The software and mining billionaires doubled in March last year on the $210 million Series B Sun Cable project. The pair first got into the Sun Cable concept in 2019, which Atlassian’s boss called the concept “batshit crazy insane” when it first launched.
But as the project progressed, Forrest grew increasingly concerned about the company’s operations and direction. There was speculation that he wanted to redirect the energy from the solar and battery farm to green hydrogen production. The mining tycoon had expressed interest in buying the company when it went into receivership.
based in Singapore solar cable’s AAPowerLink is a 17-20 gigawatt (GW) solar farm and up to 42 GWh battery storage near Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory, connected to the world’s longest submarine high voltage DC cable system, running approximately 4,200 km from Darwin to Singapore.
The project is expected to take six to seven years to complete and will create more than 1,500 construction jobs and 350 operational jobs. The $30 billion bill for the project is five times the updated $5.9 billion cost of Snowy Hydro 2.0.
A statement from the Helietta Consortium said they will “dive deep with management in the coming weeks and have more to say about the design and development priorities for the future project,” describing it as “having the potential to deliver a … nation-building project for Australia”.
Cannon Brookes said “it’s time to increase our country’s ambition” with a project he had always believed in.
“We need to make big strides if we want to become a renewable energy superpower. So we’ll wave,” he said.
Quinbrook co-founder David Scaysbrook said they were happy to support Grok in the acquisition.
“Quinbrook will focus on exploiting the opportunities presented by Northern Australia’s abundant solar and wind energy resources and demonstrating the important and complementary role that the world’s most advanced storage technologies can provide in providing reliable and competitive low-cost, carbon-free power solutions to the energy-intensive industry. ,” he said.
“Sun Cable is a visionary company in every way.”