ACEN Corp. said Friday subsidiary ACEN Australia’s 800-megawatt pumped hydro project would receive feasibility funding from Energy Corp. and WaterNSW.
ACEN said in a statement ACEN Australia would proceed with the feasibility studies for the proposed Phoenix pumped hydro project—a large-scale, long-duration renewable energy storage facility, with the support of the New South Wales government.
The feasibility study will determine if Phoenix pumped hydro could 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.
“This project has the potential to facilitate more renewable projects in the Central West Orana region and provide valuable firming services in NSW. Phoenix Pumped Hydro will be bidding for long-term energy services agreements for long-duration storage under the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Safeguard,” ACEN Australia chief executive Anton Rohner said.
“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. We’ll be calling for inputs from community and stakeholders soon to help shape the project,” Rohner said.
The NSW government is supporting the project through WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Program and through Au$7 million in feasibility study funding by EnergyCo under its Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program.
ACEN International chief executive Patrice Clausse said the funding for the project would help deliver valuable renewable energy.
“ACEN looks forward to building this project as part of its goal to deliver 20 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030,” Clausse said.
The 800-MW, 12-hour duration storage project is proposed within NSW’s Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone and, if found feasible, will offer energy storage solutions to support several nearby wind and solar assets.
ACEN said renewable energy was rapidly moving ahead in Australia and storing energy for later use would be critical to embedding it into a reliable national electricity supply.
It said pumped hydro energy and storage would benefit NSW, enabling dispatchable energy generators to complement renewable energy projects.
“WaterNSW welcomes this latest milestone in our ongoing efforts to identify renewable generation and storage opportunities on WaterNSW land and assets,” WaterNSW chief executive Andrew George said.
EnergyCo chief executive James Hay said the the project has the potential to play a major role in improving energy security and supporting the transition to renewable energy.
“It presents an exceptional opportunity for private investment in regional communities and, if it proves to be feasible, will deliver long-duration energy storage infrastructure that will help keep the grid cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable,” Hay said.
The project is expected to start construction in 2025 and be operational before 2030.