ACEN’s hydro project in Australia gets feasibility funding

Ayala-led ACEN Australia has been awarded funding to undertake feasibility studies for its planned Phoenix pumped hydro project, a large-scale, long duration renewable energy storage facility.

Following a competitive selection process, ACEN’s 800-megawatt Phoenix pumped hydro has been selected by EnergyCo and WaterNSW to receive feasibility funding.

The study aims to determine if the project can support NSW energy security, help replace retiring coal-fired generation capacity, and support the achievement of the NSW Government’s renewable energy objectives outlined in the NSW Electricity Strategy.

The NSW Government is supporting the project through WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Program and also through AU$7 million in EnergyCo under its Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program.

The 800 MW, 12-hour duration storage project is proposed within NSW’s Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone and if found feasible, it will offer energy storage solutions to support several nearby wind and solar assets.

Should the project be found viable, Phoenix Pumped Hydro is expected to commence construction in 2025 and be operational before 2030, aligning with NSW Government’s target of at least 2 GW of new long duration storage by 2030.

ACEN said the pumped hydro energy and storage would benefit NSW, enabling dispatchable energy generators to complement renewable energy projects.

Anton Rohner, CEO of ACEN Australia, said the project has the potential to facilitate more renewable projects in the Central West Orana region.

“Phoenix Pumped Hydro will be bidding for Long-Term Energy Services Agreements for long-duration storage under the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Safeguard. Our focus is on ensuring that we develop a project that offers the right mix of benefits and opportunities for the region and the State of NSW,” Rohner said.

Patrice Clausse, CEO of ACEN International, commended the government for its investment and commitment to long-duration renewable energy storage facility development..

ACEN Australia has more than 1.5 GW of projects under construction or at an advanced stage of development, including New England Solar, New England Battery, Stubbo Solar, and Valley of the Winds projects in the NSW New England and Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zones.

The listed energy platform of the Ayala Group, ACE? has about 4,000 MW of attributable capacity from owned facilities in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Australia.