First its hydro project flooded, now Genex’s ‘Big Bessie’ battery is burning

Genex’s Tesla battery at Bouldercombe, near Rockhampton is on fire, adding to a series of woes for the company whose pumped hydro project in north Queensland flooded.

Sep 27, 2023, updated Sep 27, 2023
The Bouldercombe battery near Rockhampton (photo supplied)

The Bouldercombe battery near Rockhampton (photo supplied)

Fire crews had contained the fire to one of the 40 batteries in the pack this morning, but said there had been hazardous smoke from the site, about 20kms from Rockhampton.

Residents were told to stay indoors.

Genex said the fire was minor and no one was on the site at the time. The fire was contained to one of the battery packs.

“On advice from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and established protocols the low intensity fire is being allowed to burn out under the supervision … with no water required to be used on the fire itself,” Genex said.

It comes just days after the company reported the battery was “sopping up” cheap energy, which at this time of year falls into negative pricing territory when generators are forced to pay to offload surplus electricity.

The $60 million battery, known as Big Bessie, was in the final stage of its commissioning phase which was expected to be completed next month.

It recently said it expected its revenue to increase threefold over the next three years, boosted at first by the commencement of commercial operations at the Bouldercombe battery and later by the addition of Kidston pumped-hydro.

Last year the company reported a $15 million blow-out at its $770 million Kidston pumped hydro project in north Queensland following a flooding of its tunnels.

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Tesla had not only supplied the battery but agreed to an offtake.

The lithium batteries have a history of overheating and catching fire. The 300 megawatt battery owned by Neoen in Victoria caught fire in 2021 destroying two of its packs.




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