ACEN inks deal for 400 MWh battery install at New England solar site

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The Australian arm of Philippines-based energy company ACEN Corp has signed an agreement with United States-headquartered company Energy Vault to install two battery energy storage systems with a combined 200 MW / 400 MWh capacity.

Under the agreement, Energy Vault will deploy a 50 MW / 100 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and a separate 150 MW / 300 MWh battery at the site of ACEN’s multi-stage 720 MW New England solar project being developed near Uralla in northern New South Wales (NSW).

The parties said construction on both battery energy storage systems, being developed by ACEN in collaboration with Marubeni Asian Power Singapore, is expected to begin in the second half of 2024, with commercial operations anticipated to begin in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

Energy Vault said the batteries will feature lithium-ion technology and will couple with a Siemens S120 inverter to enable advanced grid support functionalities such as voltage and frequency ride-through, grid support during disturbances, and reactive power control.

The company said the batteries will be charged and discharged on a daily basis and are designed to dispatch stored renewable energy at peak consumption hours to help meet the high demand while reducing the region’s reliance on coal-fired power generation.

ACEN Australia Managing Director David Pollington said Energy Vault was selected for the project due to its impressive track record.

“Energy Vault’s ability to work with our Siemens S120 converters will be particularly valuable as we optimise our battery storage systems for maximum efficiency and impact,” he said.

Energy Vault Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Piconi said the New England project will be a critical source of renewable energy in the grid of the future.

“These deployments, and the tight timelines under which they will be delivered, stand as … evidence of the growing global demand for reliable and effective energy storage solutions,” he said. “We see today’s agreement as just the first step in a long and fruitful relationship with ACEN and their renewable power generation projects moving forward.”

The 400 MW first stage of the New England Solar Farm was brought online in late 2023, while construction of the 320 MW second stage has already commenced. Once the entire 720 MW project is complete, it is anticipated it will produce 1,800 GWh of renewable electricity each year.

The New England battery project is a part of ACEN’s broader strategy in Australia, where it has more than 1 GW of large-scale renewable energy generation in construction and operations, and more than 13 GW capacity in the development pipeline.

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