Genesis is bringing one of its Rankines at Huntly out of storage due to low lake levels. Photo / NZ Herald
Genesis Energy said it would bring its third coal-fired 240 megawatt Rankine unit at Huntly out of storage to provide backup generation if current dry conditions persist into the winter.
The company said 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.
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Hydro storage is significantly below average for this time of year and about 2000 gigawatt hours below the levels at the same time in 2020, which saw New Zealand's driest winter on record, Genesis said.
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.
Huntly has four Rankines. Two are operational and the third had been in storage. The fourth has been decommissioned and is used for parts.
Genesis said it would make the third Rankine available from February 22 to September 30, 2021.
"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 said in a statement.
Shares in Genesis last traded at $3.72, down 8.5c from Monday's close.