RENEW ECONOMY: Solar farms drive first profit for Genex as focus turns to battery and hydro storage

Genex Power, the only remaining listed company in Australia whose business is focused around wind, solar and storage, has revealed its first ever net profit as it works on delivering its first battery storage and pumped hydro projects.

Genex this week announced a $1.1 million net profit, primarily driven by a significant jump in earnings from its two operating 50MW solar farms at Kidston in north Queensland and Jemalong in western NSW.

Revenues rose 14 per cent to $13.64 million, thanks to elevated pricing for wholesale electricity and large scale generation certificates, which translated into underlying profits before interest and tax of $7.65 million, a 52 per cent rise over the previous year, also helped by greater cost controls.

The company’s next big earner will be its first big battery, and the second in Queensland, the 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe battery energy storage system, which is currently installing the Tesla Megapack battery units and should be energised in the next few months and in full operations by the end of the calendar year.

Genex has what it calls a “unique” arrangement with Tesla that effectively guarantees minimum revenue and share in higher profits. Tesla will operate the battery, using its Autobidder software.

The next project is even bigger, the 250MW, eight hour storage (2,000MWh) pumped hydro system at Kidston, in an abandoned open kit gold mine next to the existing solar farm. It will be the first new pumped hydro project built in more than four decades in Australia, and the first ever by a private company.

That project – despite recent water problems that caused a temporary halt to construction activities and a potential $15 million blowout in costs – should be operating in 2024, and could be joined by a 258MW wind farm that is also in the development pipeline.

The company is also looking at up to 2GW of battery storage and solar capacity at the Bulli Creek project in Queensland that it bought last year. It will make a decision on that project in 2024.

“(Genex) has developed a unique portfolio of pumped storage hydro, battery energy storage, solar and wind assets that will deliver dispatchable, clean power to assist Australia to meet its renewable energy targets,” the company says.

“The increasing impact of intermittent generators on energy prices highlights the need for investment in large scale storage options such as K2-Hydro and the BBP (the Bouldercombe battery).”

Read more at Renew Economy

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