Genex Power says its newly Bouldercombe Battery is already “sopping up” some of the negatively priced energy from cheap solar power flooding the Queensland grid, despite still being in the commissioning phase.
At its annual results briefing, the stock exchange listed Genex said the 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe battery project near Rockhampton is energised and going through final testing before kicking off commercial operations in October, in time to make the most of the upcoming summer months.
For Bouldercome, Genex’s third operating project and its first storage one, the company has a special arrangement with Tesla that effectively guarantees minimum revenue and a share in higher profits and is using Tesla’s Autobidder software, which will also help to maximise revenues from the battery.
Speaking to shareholders last week, Genex’s new CEO Craig Francis said the “very unique off-take agreement” was expected to deliver “the next step change” in the company’s revenue, once it kicks in alongside full commercial operations.
But in the meantime, he says Genex is operating the big battery during the final parts of the commissioning phase and earning a nice bit of extra money from it soaking up cheap excess Sunshine State solar.
“We are operating the plant… as we speak and sopping up some negative pricing in Queensland, which is fantastic to see,” Francis said.
“So it’s getting paid to charge and it will be getting paid to generate this evening when the pricing spikes as demand spikes and solar rolls off.
“So that that will all contribute to to pre-completion revenue, which which will flow straight through to Genex, which is… a great advantage to having these things online and operating while we’re commissioning.”
As the chart below shows, Genex expects its revenue to increase threefold over next three years, boosted at first by the commencement of commercial operations at Bouldercombe and later by the addition of Kidston pumped-hydro.
“We see tremendous opportunity, this coming summer for strong irradiance, strong intraday volatility and also very hot, dry days, meaning that evening peak is significant,” Francis said.
“That also places a lot of pressure on existing thermal plant and that creates the opportunity for these contingency events that we’ve spoken about in the past where the price spikes and enable us to capture significant amounts of revenue for the project.
“So this this dynamic remains and we’re expecting a pretty attractive summer for the battery operation the summer,” he said.
Elsewhere, Genex has two operational 50MW solar farms – Jemalong and Kidston – and continues to develop its flagship asset, the 300MW clean energy hub in Kidston in north Queensland integrating solar with pumped hydro storage and 258MW of wind.
It has also bought the 2GW Bulli Creek battery and solar Project in south-east Queensland, which Francis says is in a “really good location with very low loss factors and strategic advantage” on the interconnector with New South Wales where it plugs into the Queensland grid.
The ASX-listed company’s out-going CEO James Harding said the company had continued its focus on “operational excellence” during 2023, delivering 218,540MWh from its solar farms and $24.6 million in total revenue, despite a couple of La Nina years.
“I think we genuinely have created a very strong and diverse renewable energy and storage portfolio of projects that are built, committed, under construction and [a] attractive pipeline,” Harding said.
“I think we’ve established a proven track record of delivering projects on time on budget: the two solar farms, clearly; the Bouldercombe battery, which was energised on time and on budget and is now successfully in the commissioning phase; and the hydro.
“We’ve had an issue [with the pumped hydro] underground. It’s a very complex project, but the way the team has managed that and kept it on track to energise at the end of next year is excellent,” Harding continued.
“We just see significant upside from continuing to develop large-scale renewables and storage opportunities, particularly battery but other storage and hydro and others as they develop. So I think it’s a really well-set business.”