ACEN teams with Marubeni on 400 MWh New England battery

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The Australian arm of Philippines-based energy company ACEN Corp and the subsidiary of Japanese investment giant Marubeni have signed a cooperation agreement for the joint development of the two-hour New England battery energy storage system (BESS) in New South Wales (NSW).

The agreement commits the parties to work together on the delivery of the $250 million (USD 162.6 million) project being developed near Uralla in the proposed New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

ACEN has already started work on a 50 MW battery at the site but the facility will now be scaled up to 200 MW with two hours of storage capacity. The battery and adjacent solar farm will connect directly to Transgrid’s network.

ACEN Australia Managing Director David Pollington said the battery is another milestone for the New England Solar farm which is to be a major contributor to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“Once finished, it will be one of the nation’s largest co-located solar and battery energy storage facilities and enables energy to be stored and made available to the grid when it is needed,” he said.

The 400 MW first stage of the solar facility commenced generating renewable electricity into NSW in 2023. Stage 2 will start construction in 2024.

Electricity retailer Zen Energy has inked a long-term deal for an offtake of up to 220 MW of the New England Solar project. The 11-year agreement represents up to 52% of the output of Stage 1 of the project.

Target completion of the battery energy storage system, which has potential for future expansion, is expected in 2025.

Marubeni said another of its subsidiaries, SmartestEnergy Australia, which operates an electricity wholesale and retail business, will explore the possibility of offtake agreement for electricity charged from the battery.

The announcement comes just days after ACEN secured a $150 million funding package that it plans to use to fast track plans to deliver a 9 GW portfolio of solar, wind, battery storage and pumped hydro projects in Australia.

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