• Media release
  • 6 Nov 2018
  • 3 min read

Managing Huntly’s coal stockpile

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  • Managing Huntly’s coal stockpile

What’s happening at Huntly

It’s no secret that the current trifecta of low hydrology, planned thermal outages required to meet statutory requirements and impaired gas production is impacting national electricity generation. Genesis has dialled up its Rankine production to help provide additional capacity to the market, but current conditions have come together so rapidly, Huntly’s coal stockpile is now heading toward some of the lowest levels we have ever seen.

At 1 October 2018, our coal stockpile was approximately 292 to 312 kt. In mid-October, we were in contact with retailers, major users, the Electricity Authority and Transpower about the impact of fuel constraints with our stockpile at those levels.  As at 1 November, the rate at which we are using coal to offset significant constraints from other forms of generation means the stockpile has declined to between 180 and 200 kt.  

How Genesis is responding

Genesis is actively working to secure additional coal locally in the first instance. We are also in the process of scheduling deliveries of imported coal to supplement local supply and working to manage the logistics of transporting the coal to site to meet customer demand.

From an operational and resource consent perspective, coal used in the Rankines must meet particular specifications. Suitable coal is available from a limited number of local and offshore mines.  Given the current market constraints and our active focus on managing Huntly’s coal stockpile, Transpower will begin including periodic stockpile reporting that can be shared across the market. These updates will be available weekly on Transpower’s Security of supply webpage from Tuesday 13 November.  

Our support for gas production disclosures

Together with the proposed stockpile updates to Transpower, Genesis would also welcome greater disclosure around gas market supply.

In the case of gas production, we believe this responsibility would best sit with gas field Operators as these entities can access current, accurate production information that could be shared to keep the wider market well informed.  

Looking ahead

Genesis is confident that deliveries of additional coal can be provided to Huntly, although there is some risk around timing.  We remain confident that the extra supplies we have secured means we will have enough coal to meet the energy needs of our customers and existing contracts.

Genesis remains committed to the transition away from coal in support of a lower carbon future for New Zealand. However, we would like to reiterate there is a risk that we may not always be able to put significant amounts of additional generation into the wholesale spot market. The current market conditions are a reminder of the challenge the industry faces in finding an affordable alternative to coal to provide sufficient hydro and wind firming and back up for gas constraints and plant outages.  

Media contact

Name

Emma-Kate Greer

Role

Communications Manager

Company

Genesis

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