• 12-hour duration renewable energy storage project proposed within NSW’s Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone
  • If found viable and constructed, the pumped hydro energy storage project will complement renewable energy projects, providing energy when the sun isn’t shining and when the wind isn’t blowing
  • Calling for community and stakeholder inputs in the new year to help shape the project

18 January 2023 – ACEN Australia, with the support of the NSW Government, is thrilled to be progressing feasibility studies for the proposed Phoenix Pumped Hydro Project, a large-scale, long duration renewable energy storage facility.

Following a competitive selection process, Phoenix Pumped Hydro has been selected by EnergyCo and WaterNSW to receive feasibility funding to determine if it 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 project is being supported by the NSW Government through WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Program, and also through AU$7 million in feasibility study funding by 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 and constructed, will offer energy storage solutions to support several nearby wind and solar assets.

Renewable energy is rapidly moving ahead in Australia. Storing energy for later use is critical to embedding it into a reliable national electricity supply. Pumped hydro energy and storage will benefit NSW, enabling dispatchable energy generators to complement renewable energy projects, providing energy when the sun isn’t shining and when the wind isn’t blowing.

Andrew George, WaterNSW CEO, said: “WaterNSW welcomes this latest milestone in our ongoing efforts to identify renewable generation and storage opportunities on WaterNSW land and assets.”

James Hay, chief executive of Energy Corporation of NSW, said: “The Phoenix Pumped Hydro project has the potential to play a major role in improving our State’s 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.”

Anton Rohner, CEO of ACEN Australia, said: “ACEN Australia is excited to be progressing the project with support from the NSW Government. 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. 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.”

Patrice Clausse, CEO of ACEN International, commended the government for its investment and commitment to long-duration renewable energy storage facility development and said: “These funds will help deliver the valuable renewable energy firming capacity needed and we commend the NSW government for supporting such exceptional technologies. ACEN looks forward to building this project as part of its goal to deliver 20 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.”

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 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. In addition, ACEN Australia is developing Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain Wind and North East Wind in Tasmania.