ACEN hikes storage capacity in Australia solar project

Ayala-led ACEN Corporation has secured government approval to ramp up its energy storage venture as a technology coupling to its 720-megawatt(ac) New England solar farm venture in Australia.

In a statement to the media, ACEN Australia said that state-government of New South Wales (NSW) gave a go-signal to hike its energy storage installation to 2,800 megawatt-hours from the initial approval of 200MW/hrs for two-hour battery energy storage system (BESS) configuration granted in 2020.

The scaled up installation will “help put downward pressure on electricity bills as the country transitions to a clean energy future.” The increased BESS would aid in powering up at least 175,000 homes in that energy home-market of the Ayala company.

According to Anton Rohner, chief executive officer of ACEN Australia, “the additional battery storage at New England Solar would play a critical role in securing energy supply across the state.”

That expanded capacity was a result of the Australian state’s decision to retire its ageing coal-fired power fleet over the next 20 years, hence, “large battery energy storage systems like these are critical in replacing that capacity with on-demand energy.”

As emphasized by ACEN, the approval on the expanded energy storage project “means planning for Stage 2 of New England Solar is a step closer to construction,” noting further that the stage 1 of the project for the first 400MWac installation has already kicked off in March this year.

ACEN similarly cited that “an application to modify the development consent for the project has now been approved by the Department of Planning and Environment, which includes an increase to its battery energy storage capacity of 1,400MW/2hr, or 2,800 megawatt hours.”

The company qualified “the location of the battery is within the approved site boundary, with the additional land for the larger battery currently being used as laydown areas for Stage 1 construction works.”

ACEN stated that particular area “was chosen due to its proximity to the substation where it can connect to the electricity transmission network.”

Rohner specified “the New England solar battery storage can charge using excess power generated from solar and wind, and discharge that energy when required,” adding that such will expectedly provide “reliable, cheaper, and greener form of energy generation for NSW.”

Patrice Clausse, ACEN’s International Head, primarily noted that “the additional storage capacity will allow the project to increase its energy storage potential, as well as provide additional firming and greater network system strength support, resulting in a more stable NSW electricity network.’

The New South Wales solar farm development has been underpinned by a 20-year long term energy service agreement (LTESA), as approved by Australian regulators.