AC Energy JV to develop hydro-based power storage project in Australia

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AC Energy, Inc. said it has signed a deal to develop a pumped hydroelectric energy storage system with a capacity of 250 megawatts (MW) in South Australia, which it expects to start building in the next six months.

“We just signed a couple of days ago an agreement to develop pumped hydro in South Australia. In all of our projects, we also look at whether it makes sense to add batteries,” said Patrice Clausse, chief operating officer of AC Energy International Holdings Pte. Ltd. in a briefing on Tuesday.

“Pumped hydro… complements renewables very well. That one, I hope we can get to NTP (notice to proceed) in the next six months,” he said.

The project will be the latest to break ground for AC Energy, and its first with Australia’s UPC Renewables in which it acquired a 50% stake in May 2018.

“It’s a very short construction cycle. It’s also with UPC,” Mr. Clausse said.




The subsidiary of Ayala Corp. has said it will seek to enter the Australian renewables market through a joint venture.

”We’ve designed it in a way that we can add battery storage anytime. The base case at the moment is not yet to add batteries,” Mr. Clausse said.

Separately, AC Energy said in a statement Tuesday that it entered into a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of a 51% interest in the Baroota Pumped Hydro and the Bridle Track Solar Farm projects from Rise Renewables.

It said under the terms of the agreement, the partnership with UPC Renewables intends to accelerate remaining development, fund construction and to retain long-term ownership of the projects.

The partners said it sees the Baroota project as a leading example of low-cost long-hours energy storage providing firm generation that is needed in South Australia as well as in the wider National Electricity Market.

“The capability of the pumped hydro project will provide a valuable contribution to UPC\AC Renewables development portfolio across the National Electricity Market,” AC Energy said.

The pumped hydro system has two units, each with a capacity of 125 MW. It will consist of the construction of upper storage, penstock, pipeline and power station with the use of the existing SA Water Baroota Reservoir as lower storage.

Meanwhile, the Bridle Track Solar Farm project has approval for 300 MW located next to the Baroota project. Both projects will share a connection point to the 275 kilovolt Bungama to Davenport transmission line. — Victor V. Saulon

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