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Genesis To Make Third Rankine Available To Cover Drought And Gas Shortages

Challenging market conditions, driven by a dry summer and supply side constraints in the gas market, have prompted Genesis to make a third 250MW Rankine unit available to support the country’s electricity needs.

The combination of looming supply shortages in the gas market, due largely to the declining output of the Pohokura gas field, and drought conditions in many parts of New Zealand, have left hydro catchments at historically low levels. Hydro storage is significantly below average for this time of year and approximately 2000GWh below the levels at the same time in 2020, which saw New Zealand’s driest winter on record. This has prompted Genesis to make a third Rankine unit available to support the country’s electricity market.

Genesis Chief Operations Officer, Nigel Clark said it was prudent to be looking ahead to winter with the prospect of below average rainfall on top of New Zealand’s existing seasonal winter storage challenge.

“We feel it is the right thing to do in the circumstances to support the country’s needs if these conditions continue through winter,” he said.

“We are fortunate to be able to reallocate resources across the business to make this possible. The flexibility and dedication of our teams reflects our commitment to ensure secure and stable energy supply for New Zealanders. Electricity is a core component of everyday Kiwi life and we recognise the role and responsibility we have in enabling that.”

Genesis will make the third Rankine (250MW Unit 2) available from February 22 to September 30, 2021. It is expected that it will be run in a limited capacity alongside Rankine Units 1 and 4, and Gas Units 5 and 6.

“The ability to bring a third Rankine to the market highlight’s the critical importance of Huntly’s role to provide back-up generation cover to ensure security of supply and help maintain stable prices in the wholesale electricity market,” Clark added.

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