AC Energy Corp. (ACEN) said on Tuesday that its Australian business has started the construction of a 50-megawatt (MW), one-hour battery that will connect to its solar farm in New South Wales.
In a disclosure, the Ayala-led listed renewables company said the battery energy storage system (BESS) is set to be built near its 720-MW New England Solar Farm east of Uralla town in the southeastern Australian state.
The hybrid solar farm, which is under construction, is expected to be one of the country’s largest renewable energy facilities. The battery system will address its intermittency.
Eric T. Francia, ACEN president and chief executive officer, said the company is “pleased to be expanding its renewable energy portfolio and contributing to Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.”
“ACEN has been a partner of UPC Renewables since 2018 and we are immensely proud of the work already achieved on the New England Solar project by the team,” he said.
Based on ACEN’s annual report, a joint venture between ACEN and UPC Renewables Australia Pty. Ltd. is developing the solar farm.
The report also said that the first phase of solar project, which will have a capacity of 521 MW, as well as the adjacent 50-MW battery energy storage system, achieved financial close in February 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2023.
“While the UPC\AC 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,” Mr. Francia said.
ACEN previously disclosed that on March 15, its unit ACEN Renewables International Pte. Ltd. took full control of its Australian joint venture company after buying the stake of its partner.
Anton Rohner, chief executive officer of ACEN Australia, said that the battery would support grid reliability while allowing for “generation-shifting,” referring to energy that can be stored and then discharged into the grid when needed.
“The New England battery can also be scaled up to 200 MW with two hours of storage capacity in response to the needs of consumers and the grid,” Mr. Rohner said. “We are excited about an energy future where projects such as the New England Solar Farm is supported with batteries and other energy storage technologies.”
ACEN quoted Adam Marshall, member of parliament for Northern Tablelands, as saying: “The construction of the BESS is a landmark project for the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and also the New South Wales economy.”
Mr. Marshall said the battery system is supported by a AU$12.5-million state government grant.
ACEN said the solar farm is being built across two solar fields about six kilometers east of Uralla. It said once the entire 720-MW project is complete, it will produce around 1.8 million megawatt-hours of clean electricity each year. The output is enough to power about 250,000 homes in New South Wales, it added.
ACEN, which aspires to become the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia, has around 3,800 MW of attributable capacity in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Australia. Its goal is to reach 5,000 MW of renewables by 2025.
On Tuesday, shares in ACEN dipped by five centavos or 0.70% to close at P7.05 each. — Victor V. Saulon