Genex taps Tesla for Queensland big battery project


Sydney-based developer Genex announced on Friday it had executed a supply agreement with Tesla to use its Megapack technology for the Bouldecombe Battery Project (BPP) being developed near Rockhampton in central Queensland.

The Bouldercombe battery energy storage system (BESS), which received development approval from Rockhampton Regional Council in May, will comprise 40 Tesla Megapacks which will be integrated with the company’s Autobidder machine learning program for automated energy trading.

Tesla has described the Megapack  – a its third stationary energy storage product after the Powerwall and Powerpack – as the largest, densest battery system in the world with giga-scale capacity. The modular system requires 40% less space and Tesla claims it can be constructed 10 times faster than other systems.

The technology has been deployed in a number of Australian projects including the 50 MW/75 MWh Wallgrove Grid Battery project being built in Western Sydney by Transgrid.

It has also been used by French renewable energy developer Neoen in the 300 MW/450 MWh Victorian Big Battery, which is currently undergoing commissioning near Geelong.

The fire at Neoen’s Victoria Big Battery installation.

Image: CFA

The project suffered a setback in July when fire destroyed two of its Megapacks but safety regulators in Victoria earlier this week cleared the project to resume testing.

Genex chief executive James Harding said the supply agreement with Tesla is a major milestone for the Bouldercombe project and will support the company in rapidly progressing the project to financial close.

“This is a key milestone in the project’s development and one the company has been working towards since Tesla’s appointment as the preferred supplier and integrator in 2020,” he said.

The BPP will be constructed on land adjacent to Queensland network operator Powerlink’s 275 kV/132 kV Bouldercombe substation, about 20 kilometres south of Rockhampton.

Genex said negotiations with Powerlink – which has identified battery storage as key to managing system strength issues in the National Electricity Market – on the connection terms are well advanced with a connection offer expected within the next couple of months.

The company also said it was in advanced discussions with a party for off-take agreements with the battery expected to operate on an arbitrage and frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) model, with the ability to bid into all FCAS markets.

Genex, which expects to make a final investment decision on the project in coming months, said financial close is expected by the first quarter of 2022 with the project expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2023.

Genex is also developing the massive Kidston Renewable Energy Hub in north Queensland.

Image: Genex

Harding said the project is part of Genex’s strategy to diversify its renewable energy portfolio which includes the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, a combined solar, wind and pumped hydro project being developed in north Queensland. The Kidston project includes an already operating 50 MW solar farm and a 250 MW pumped-storage hydro project which is expected to be completed by 2024. It also has potential for further multi-stage wind and solar projects with Genex last year announcing it had secured a partnership with Japanese utility J-Power to progress the development of a 150 MW wind farm at the site.

Genex also owns and operates the 50 MW Jemalong Solar Farm  in the central west region of New South Wales.

“The (Bouldercombe) project is Genex’s first large-scale battery energy storage system and is part of our ‘Como’ strategy to broaden our footprint in energy storage,” Harding said.

“The development of our battery storage strategy in conjunction with our pumped hydro project and operating solar energy assets further positions Genex as the leading Australian renewable energy and storage company.”

The BPP is among a raft of utility scale battery storage projects being progressed across Queensland.

The 100 MW/150 MWh Wandoan South BESS project being developed by Singapore-based Vena Energy is currently progressing through the commissioning process while state-owned energy company Stanwell is developing a 150 MW/300 MWh battery adjacent to the 1.4 GW Tarong Power Station site in the South Burnett.

The state government has also announced plans to install five large-scale, network-connected batteries, with a combined capacity of 40 MWh in regions across the state as part of a community battery trial.

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