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Sun Cable shines with $65m lifeline

Renewable energy startup Sun Cable will be able to keep the lights on after one of its billionaire investors agreed to extend interim funding to the troubled project.

Grok Ventures, the private arm of billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, will provide a $65 million loan to keep the company going while administrators seek a buyer.

The funding would include a six-month interest-free period, Grok said in a statement.

Administrators from FTI Consulting have accepted the Grok Ventures offer over other proposals and will finalise the deal in coming days.

Sun Cable, which plans to build the world's biggest solar project in the northern Australia and a submarine cable to export the solar power to Singapore, entered voluntary administration last week.

It came after the two biggest investors - Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals Group Chairman Andrew Forrest - were unable to agree over the direction of the the $30 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink proposal, including whether to use clean electricity from the project for local use, or to export it to Singapore.

The project involves the development of a 17- to 20-gigawatt solar farm in the Northern Territory, capable of powering about 15 million homes, as well as a 36GW to 42GW battery.

The electricity generated would be transmitted 800km to Darwin and from there to Singapore via a 4200km undersea cable. Construction was set to begin next year with full operation scheduled for 2029.

FTI Consulting last week told creditors at a meeting Sun Cable would continue its project development pipeline ahead of its sale process, which is expected to take about three months. The administrators have said there is strong interest in the company.