ACEN Australia acknowledges the resilience and knowledge of the Traditional Custodians of this nation. We pay our respects to elders past and present, the many Aboriginal people that did not make their elder status and to those that continue to care for country.
ACEN Australia, with the support of the NSW Government, is progressing feasibility studies for the proposed Phoenix Pumped Hydro Project, a large-scale, long duration renewable energy storage facility. ACEN Australia is proposing to develop an 800MW, 12-hour pumped hydro project 35km west of Mudgee, within the NSW Government’s Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
The REZ is made up of several proposed renewable energy generators including wind and solar that will provide a low-cost source of energy for consumers. Phoenix Pumped Hydro will firm these renewables by providing large amounts of long-duration storage to keep the lights on even when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing.
The project is targeting an installed capacity of over 800MW and 12 hours of storage capable of delivering up to 9,600MWh of energy, and will have purpose built, off-stream, upper and lower storage reservoirs connected by a tunnel or pipeline to a powerhouse containing pump-turbine units.
An upper and lower storage reservoir will be constructed, each with a surface area of approximately 50ha and capable of holding up to 15,000ML of water, or 1% of Lake Burrendong. The upper reservoir will be 350m higher than the lower reservoir. The dedicated storage reservoirs will be off-stream, separate from Lake Burrendong and have minimal interaction with existing waterways.
During construction, the project will source water from Lake Burrendong and once operational, the project will reuse the same water over and over again, requiring only minor top-ups to replace evaporation losses over time.
A powerhouse will be located at the lower reservoir containing the pump-turbine units and associated equipment required to pump water and generate electricity. The powerhouse will contain multiple reversible pump-turbines, for an installed capacity of over 800MW.
Phoenix Pumped Hydro will require connection to the NSW electricity network. This connection will occur either at the existing 330kV network between Wellington and Mount Piper or the new transmission infrastructure being considered as part of the Central-West Orana REZ.
Renewable energy is rapidly moving ahead in Australia but storing energy for later use is key to embedding it into a reliable national electricity supply. There are a range of social, environmental and economic factors that guide site selection. The key benefits of the Phoenix Pumped Hydro project include:
Located within the NSW Government’s Central-West Orana REZ, offering energy storage solutions to support several nearby wind and solar assets
Located within existing cleared agricultural land and sparse woodland
Dedicated off-stream storage reservoirs, minimising aquatic and riparian impacts
Suitable options for connection to nearby transmission network
Proximity to regional centres such as Mudgee, coupled with easy vehicle access to the powerhouse and both reservoir sites.
NSW Government support for 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 $7M in feasibility study funding by EnergyCo under its Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program.
At a glance
full-time jobs at peak construction
operational jobs for 50 years
of the volume of Lake Burrendong
west of Mudgee
CENTRAL WEST ORANA REGION
ACEN Australia is committed to the Central-West Orana region for decades to come. Learn more about the NSW Government's Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone.
Built on a foundation of trust and shared value, we seek to develop relationships with communities that create enduring and positive impact. Here are some of the things we are doing and have proposed to implement for Phoenix Pumped Hydro following project approval.
Commitment to prioritise the participation of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to deliver goods and services
Commitment to product stewardship through environmental and social procurement that encourage circular economy outcomes
Carefully consider suitable accommodation solutions for the project construction workforce so as not to negatively impact on housing availability and affordability
Commitment to First Nations participation through areas such as contracting, employment, training and business innovation
Commitment to Learning Worker participation through areas such as traineeships and apprenticeships
Commitment to using local content for construction materials from Australia or New Zealand
First Nations participation
As a company seeking to harness wind, solar and water resources for energy today, we reflect on the contributions made by First Nations over thousands of years. We recognise the value of a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture, and commit to meaningful participation with First Nations groups to support the protection of country, culture, and the development of their aspirations.
Jobs and business
We have a commitment to employ and buy locally where we can so we can keep the benefits local. With such a significant construction investment, it is anticipated that there will be many opportunities for regional businesses to be involved. Goods and services likely to be procured locally include:
Central -West Orana community impacts and benefits
We are planning several projects in the NSW Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (CWOREZ) in the coming years and we are working with stakeholders and communities to balance the impacts and opportunities that a growing renewable energy industry can bring. We want to maximise local employment and business opportunities and deliver the most appropriate accommodation solutions for our workforces. Our preference and priority is to employ locally first, however current skills and labour shortages are a considerable barrier in achieving this.