ACEN integrates BESS into Australia solar project

Published May 25, 2022, 12:28 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

ACEN integrates BESS into Australia solar project


Ayala-led ACEN Corporation and its partner-firm UPC Renewables would be integrating a 50-megawatt/one-hour battery energy storage system (BESS) into its 720-megawatt peak (MWp) New England solar farm project in Uralla, Australia.

In a statement to the media, the Ayala energy firm indicated that the battery storage “will be critical in addressing the intermittency of renewable energy,” adding that “the BESS will improve system strength and grid reliability, allowing more low-cost renewable energy to connect to the grid, lowering prices for New South Wales consumers.”

The BESS for the New England solar farm installation is underpinned by AU$12.5 million grant from the State government of New South Wales as anchored on its Emerging Energy Program.

At its construction phase, the hybrid solar project is expected to generate at least 500 jobs and this may be complemented by additional 50 workers at the peak of the battery storage facility’s construction.

Upon the hybrid solar farm development’s completion, ACEN stated that “this will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.5 million metric tons.”

As emphasized by Adam Marshall, member of the legislative assembly for Northern Tablelands Parliamentary, “the construction of the BESS is a landmark project for the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and also the New South Wales economy.”

He expounded that the BESS’ coupling for the New England solar farm venture, “will be one of Australia’s largest co-located solar and battery energy storage facilities, helping to support a more stable electricity network.”

Anton Rohner, chief executive officer of ACEN Australia, further noted that “aside from supporting grid reliability, the battery will also allow for generation-shifting, so that energy can be stored and then discharged into the grid when it is most needed.”

He underscored that the battery storage “can also be scaled up to 200 MW with two hours of storage capacity in response to the needs of consumers and the grid.”

ACEN recently increased its ownership in UPC/AC Renewables by acquiring the shares of its partner UPC Renewables – and full acquisition (at 100% equity) is targeted to be concluded next year. Upon definitive execution of full shares acquisition, corporate vehicle UPC/AC Renewables will be rebranded into ACEN Australia.

Given the forthcoming corporate equity changes then, ACEN President and CEO Eric T. Francia, conveyed that “while the UPCAC Renewables name and brand is changing to ACEN Australia, our highly capable Australian team will remain in place, and our approach to building long term relationships built on trust with our host communities, and other stakeholders remains the same.”

The initial phase of the New England solar farm’s construction will be with the 400MWac/520MWdc component which is due for completion in 2023; and the additional capacity to complete the blueprinted 720MWp development will follow afterwards.

“Once the entire 720 MW project is complete, it will produce around 1,800,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean electricity each year – enough to power about 250,000 New South Wales homes,” the Ayala firm stressed.