New renewables start-up to take on Santos to spur industry

Narrabri renewables start-up Geni.Energy to lead charge for energy across North West

Sustainability
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A new renewable company based in Narrabri aims to challenge Santos to be the catalyst to jump-start an industrial renaissance in the region.

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POWER PLAN: Geni.Energy, a community-owned, not-for-profit renewable company, was launched in Narrabri on Monday. Photo: Supplied

POWER PLAN: Geni.Energy, a community-owned, not-for-profit renewable company, was launched in Narrabri on Monday. Photo: Supplied

A new renewable company based in Narrabri aims to challenge Santos to be the catalyst to jump-start an industrial renaissance in north west NSW.

Joint Executive Director of Geni.Energy Rohan Boehm said they want to build the first energy business on the town's new Inland Port industrial precinct.

The Narrabri region pays $70 million to import energy each year, he said.

The new company, which went live on Monday, will aim to harness the region's renewable assets to keep that money in the North West by building a regional virtual power plant out of hundreds of rooftops and "many small sites", Mr Boehm said.

Read more: How much solar does Australia need?

The company is "well and truly advanced" in negotiations with new industry it hopes to attract to Narrabri, Mr Boehm said.

"Because we're going to be on the Brisbane to Melbourne train line we're ideally situated to optimise use of the regional transport hub which is being established and funded by the NSW Government right now," he said.

"Our aim is to be the first commercial tenant in that place generating energy. Low cost abundant energy for new industries."

Gas company Santos has promised to attract a variety of businesses to the Northern Inland Port, which is connected to the Inland Rail project.

Earlier in September, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the project could win state government assistance through a special activation precinct which would be larger if Santos' Narrabri Gas Project is approved. The project will get final determination this week.

Geni.Energy, a community-owned, not-for-profit organisation, has big plans to develop local battery storage in order to product 100 per cent dispatchable power.

The company will set up a thermal energy precinct, produce hydrogen, bio-energy and traditional batteries.

"The silly old question - when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining, what do you do then? We've got that absolutely well and truly covered. We'll have bioenergy plants operating with generators that will be set up to match the minimum needs for dispatchable energy within the region."

The company has partnered with Enova Energy to buy and sell power direct to the consumer.

Member for Barwon Roy Butler launched the new company via Zoom. He said the Narrabri Gas Project had been talked up as a way to attract industry into the region, but the renewable company would likely do a better job.

"With the prospect of gas in Narrabri, we know that the gas in Narrabri will be quite expensive and what will attract industry to Narrabri is actually cheap energy," he said.

"Geni.Energy, based on what it believes it can achieve in terms of energy pricing, will be far cheaper than Narrabri gas."

He said it could be a "game changer for the North West".

Geni-Energy hopes to be able to generate 150 megawatts of power within five years, driving down local power prices for industry, homeowners and commercial business.

The story New renewables start-up to take on Santos to spur industry first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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