ACE Energy comes up trumps in race for Central-West Orana REZ role


The publicly owned Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), which has been tasked with implementing the state government’s renewable energy zones (REZs), announced this week it has selected ACE Energy as the network operator for the Central-West Orana REZ.

The ACE Energy consortium comprises Spanish renewables major Acciona, NSW-based network operator Endeavour Energy, and Cobra, the renewable energy development platform of French construction giant Vinci Group.

ACE Energy beat out two other short-listed tenderers including Network REZolution, which comprises CIMIC Group companies Pacific Partnerships, UGL and CPB Contractors, along with gas infrastructure business APA Group.

The third of the short-listed tenderers was NewGen Networks, comprising infrastructure investor Plenary Group, Spanish infrastructure giant Elecnor, SecureEnergy (the joint venture of Elecnor and Australian engineering and construction company Clough), and the NSW government-owned network operator Essential Energy.

Having identified its preferred bidder, EnergyCo said it will now finalise arrangements with ACE Energy with a commitment deed expected to be executed in the September quarter.

EnergyCo said until that time, it reserves the right to recommence discussions with the second-ranked proponent if appropriate to do so.

As the network operator, ACE Energy will be responsible for designing, financing, building, operating and maintaining the network infrastructure for the clean energy zone. The infrastructure will include energy hubs and new high-capacity transmission lines.

Centred around the town of Dubbo, the Central-West Orana REZ was originally expected to deliver 3 GW of new solar, wind and storage capacity but that appears certain to be revised. A call for registrations of interest attracted 113 registrations, totalling 27GW and valued at $38 billion.

The Central-West Orana REZ is the first of five designated clean energy zones detailed in the NSW government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, which it expects will support more than $32 billion of investment in renewable energy generation, storage and transmission in the state. REZs will also be developed in the New England, Hunter-Central Coast, South-West and Illawarra regions.

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