ACEN begins constructing Aussie BESS project


Ayala-led ACEN, through ACEN Australia, said it has begun constructing its 50-megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system (BESS) in its solar farm in Uralla, New South Wales state – a roughly five-hour drive north from Sydney.

The battery storage system will be connected to the 720MW New England Solar Farm, and will play a critical role in addressing the intermittency of renewable energy (RE), ACEN said.

The New England Solar project, which is supported by New South Wales Government’s Emerging Energy Program, is being built across two solar fields in the east of Uralla. The project is expected to be completed in 2023. 

Both facilities will be among Australia’s largest co-located solar and BESS facilities, which is seen to improve system strength and grid reliability, allowing low-cost RE to connect to the grid, resulting in lower electricity prices for New South Wales consumers. 

“The construction of the BESS is a landmark project for the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and also the New South Wales economy,” Northern Tablelands Member of Parliament (MP) Adam Marshall said in a statement. 

MP Marshall said that the BESS is supported by an AUD 12.5 million (around Php464.59 million) state government grant. The entire solar farm will be able to produce 1.8 million megawatt-hours, enough to power 250,000 homes in the state.

“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,” ACEN Australia CEO Anton Rohner said. 

ACEN Australia is formerly known as UPC/AC Renewables, a joint venture between the Ayala company and UPC Renewables. In March 2022, ACEN increased its ownership of the said joint venture to 80% and is looking at a 100% ownership by 2023. 

“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,” ACEN president and CEO Eric Francia said. 

ACEN also has a joint venture with UPC Solar Asia Pacific for a solar farm in India.