The New Caledonian Government has chosen Akuo, a prominent global independent renewable energy producer and developer, to oversee the construction and operation of a groundbreaking electricity storage facility. This facility is designed to provide 50 MW of power for 3 hours each day over its 12-year lifecycle, necessitating the installation of over 200 MWh of storage capacity.
This project represents the first major energy storage facility on the island and stands as France’s largest in terms of capacity. Situated in Boulouparis, a region already familiar to Akuo due to its operation of three agrivoltaic facilities totaling 12.7 MWp, including the Kwita Wije plant in Boulouparis supported by a storage station with a capacity of 3 MW/3 MWh. The storage facility’s purpose is to optimize the utilization of electricity generated by photovoltaic plants by storing it during the day and redistributing it during the evening peak demand hours. At full capacity, it can cover up to a third of the island’s households’ electricity consumption.
On the principal island of Grande Terre, New Caledonia is actively pursuing an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2035, as outlined in its new energy transition plan, “Schéma de Transition Energétique de la Nouvelle Calédonie,” adopted in August 2023. This plan is particularly ambitious given its aims to accelerate decarbonization in metallurgical sites, which account for three-quarters of the island’s electricity consumption, and to replace at least 50% of fossil energy used in the nickel sector with renewable energy by 2035. The development of storage capacity is pivotal to enabling the integration of various renewable energies into the power network, serving as the cornerstone of New Caledonia’s energy transition.
Akuo has been a pioneer of storage development, having won the first storage call for tenders in France, securing 29 MWh on the islands of Reunion and Corsica as far back as 2012. More recently, Akuo has commissioned the South Pacific’s largest storage facility in Tonga (16.5 MW/29.2 MWh) and the Madinina facility on the French island of Martinique (12 MW/19 MWh). To date, Akuo has successfully installed over 135 MWh of storage across 24 global sites. With this latest achievement in New Caledonia, the Akuo Group has firmly established itself as a developer of large-scale storage facilities.
Jean Ballandras, Head of Akuo Asia Pacific, said,“It is a source of great pride for Akuo to have won this tender whose ambition and requirements we have fully taken onboard. This is a vote of confidence by the New Caledonian Government that rewards our continuous efforts over the last 13 years or so to promote – through numerous projects around the world – the appeal of storage solutions for island nations. We are in a position to tackle the challenges associated with this success: we understand just how important this battery will be in terms of ramping up the share of renewables in New Caledonia’s energy mix. More importantly, we understand that commissioning this facility will enable the plan to accelerate the production of renewable electricity sources in order to allow the mining industry’s transition to green energy. All our teams are already focused on giving their very best to successfully undertake this ambitious project, and we are ready to meet the challenges associated with it”.