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Akuo Energy enlisted for 150MWh BESS in French overseas territory New Caledonia


The government of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in Polynesia, has announced plans for a 150MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) to be deployed by IPP Akuo Energy.

Authorities have enlisted Akuo, a developer and independent power producer (IPP), to deploy the system which will have a discharge duration of three hours, a state bulletin said last week (10 August).

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It will be located in the commune of Boulouparis and will be “the largest battery system in France”, the announcement said, technically true as France to a large extent considers its overseas territories as much a part of the country as those on the mainland.

“This is a historic project which will help us to supply green energy to this territory, primarily from photovoltaics, even at night,” said Christopher Gygès, New Caledonia government minister overseeing the energy transition.

“We already have the largest solar farm in France and we will soon have the largest battery in France, and possibly even Europe,” Gygès added.

Construction on the project should start, and it will require around 9 billion CFP francs (US$82 million) of investment. It follows state body DIMENC (direction des Mines et de l’énergie de la Nouvelle-Calédonie) launching an appeal for project proposals in August last year.

“We want to advance this project to decarbonise New Caledonia’s energy mix as well as offer a cheaper tariff to its inhabitants and to the megallurgical industry to keep their factories in business,” Gygès said.

It is not the first grid-scale battery storage project to come online in New Caledonia. Four years ago, reported on the commissioning of a 5MWh system co-located with a solar PV plant, deployed by subsidiaries of French energy giants Total and Engie.

Akuo Energy is a Paris-based developer and IPP which has completed numerous solar PV and BESS projects on island territories, including ones in Tonga and Martinique last year, the latter also an overseas territory of France.

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