The mandate should not be for everyone. Sun Cable is a large and potentially long-term project with considerable uncertainty.

There is also already some skepticism among Australian institutional investors in infrastructure, including large industry pension funds that have scooped up long-lived Australian assets like Sydney Airport, the Sydney’s WestConnex toll and the Telstra and Optus telecommunications towers, and the major Australian banks which typically fund such projects.

Andrew Forrest’s squadron is one of Sun Cable’s earliest funders. Edwina Pickles

Some of those investors and lenders have been asked to consider their appetite for Sun Cable in the recent funding round, sources said. They expect to have a chance at a more formal look in the months and years to come if the project progresses. The key for them will be whether Sun Cable could produce electricity at a cost that would make it viable for Australia’s domestic electricity market and offshore markets.

Mandates fly away

Sun Cable’s request for bankers comes three months after it appointed international engineering and construction company Bechtel, transmission specialist Hatch and PwC Australia to work on the project.

“Sun Cable is developing a world-leading renewable energy and transmission infrastructure project to power Singapore and the Northern Territory,” Sun Cable spokesman Georgie Skipper said late Thursday.

“PowerLink Australia-Asia’s targeted $30 billion financial close is the end of 2023, involving a capital raising process in conjunction with potential global financial advisors.”

Sun Cable is billed as one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects, with a 4,200 kilometer cable that would deliver renewable energy generated at a huge solar farm near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory to Darwin and Singapore.

The vast solar array of up to 20 gigawatts will be backed by the world’s largest battery to ensure reliable supply, with storage also in Darwin and Singapore.

The cable, which is expected to start construction in late 2023 and begin supplying power to Singapore in 2027, is expected to reduce total carbon emissions by 8.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year, Sun Cable estimates.