Another (Tesla) big battery fire in the NEM … this one at Bouldercombe BESS in QLD

A several-times-updated, and hence considerably longer initial article, with perhaps others to follow.


(A)  External news about the fire at the Bouldercombe BESS

I first heard about the fire currently burning at the Bouldercombe BESS this morning on ABC radio, and also see this news article ‘Tesla battery on fire at Bouldercombe energy storage site, Genex confirms’ on the ABC news site:


One of my initial thoughts (and hence the ‘another’ in the article title) was of the fire that occurred at the Victoria Big Battery beginning on 30th July 2021 – also early in its life.  A series of articles were subsequently written about that.

The ABC news article says that …

‘Police were called to the incident in Child’s Avenue in Bouldercombe, about 23 kilometres from Rockhampton at 7:45pm.’

Since I first posted this article before 09:00 this morning, I’ve become aware of other external updates about the fire:

A1)  Updates from Government Sources

Let’s start with these ones…

1)   At 00:14 this morning, Queensland Police News posted about ‘Fire hazard, Bouldercombe’.  This noted:

‘The fire is believed to have started in a lithium battery storage unit at 7.45pm, and is currently causing hazardous smoke in the immediate area.

Police will continue to monitor the situation as there are a large number of batteries on site and there is a possibility the fire may spread to other units, creating a larger hazard.’

2)   At 08:20 this morning, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services posted about ‘Bouldercombe – structure fire as at 8.20am Wed 27 Sept’.  This noted:

‘Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) crews remain on scene of a structure fire on Childs Avenue, Bouldercombe.

The fire is currently contained with crews continuing to monitor the situation.’


A2)  Company Updates

As at 11:10 today there is nothing yet on the ‘News and Media’ section of the Genex Power website.  However one reader has helpfully reminded me to check the ASX Announcements, with this one being released at around 09:30 this morning:


Provides some useful information (highlighted).


A3)  External News Media updates

Adding in these other news media reports…

1)   On RenewEconomy, Giles Parkinson was quick in posting ‘Fire erupts in Tesla Megapack module at Bouldercombe big battery’.

2)  At 06:40 there was an article ‘Battery fire sparks warning for residents in regional Queensland’ by Jorge Branco on the 9News.

3)  7News also had an article … ‘Fears of escalation as fire breaks out at Bouldercombe Battery Project near Rockhampton’ by Warren Barnsley.

4)  The Courier Mail had an article ‘Firefighters told not to put out blaze at $60m Tesla battery station’, but I don’t subscribe so can’t read it.  But I did notice Giles’ article above comments on the ‘firefighters told not to put out the blaze’ bit.

5)  At 06:01 at the Age, there was ‘Firefighters battle blaze at Tesla lithium battery storage unit near Rockhampton’.

6)  Sometime this morning, PV Magazine wrote ‘Tesla Megapack on fire at Bouldercombe big battery in Queensland’.  This article has some useful context.

7)  John McCarthy wrote ‘First its hydro project flooded, now Genex’s ‘Big Bessie’ battery is burning’ for InQueensland.


(B)  Initial review of AEMO market data in relation to the Bouldercombe BESS

The AEMO Station ID for the battery ‘BBATTERY’ and it contains a pair of DUIDs (BBATTERY as generator and BBATRYL1 as a load) … remembering that this station has been registered before the commencement of the IESS Rule Change in mid 2024, which will support bi-directional DUIDs.

Here’s some (expanding) notes on what’s visible in some of the ez2view widgets….


(B1)  From the ‘Station Details’ widget in ez2view

The following snapshot of the ‘Station Details’ widget (a bit like the ‘Unit Dashboard’ widget) in ez2view is focused on the discharge-side of the equation, and shows a couple of things about what’s been happening:


Some quick points (slightly updated from what was published before 9am):

1)  This can look at what happened prior to 19:45 (NEM time) yesterday due to the ‘next day public’ data

2)  So the unit had just run for ~2 hours (first output for 18:05 to last output for 19:55) by bidding at $60/MWh at the RRN

3)  It appears to have a Dispatch Error of ~4MW from 19:35 as it missed its 48MW target (FinalMW of 44MW) for the remaining dispatch intervals.

was this as a result of whatever led to fire that commenced at this point or shortly afterwards?

4)  We can see some earlier smaller discharge spurts earlier in the day …

(a)  which I first thought might be due to Regulation Raise FCAS (though I noted when I said that I had not checked).

(b)  however it does not appear to be registered for FCAS at this point (presumably just due to commissioning?), which means we’re looking for another reason for the spurts:

i.  Perhaps it is due to FFR; or

ii.  Perhaps for some other reasons

iii.  Perhaps also the data might be spurious?

5)  At 20:20 a rebid was submitted (so assessed for the 20:30 dispatch interval) that dropped the unit’s PASA Avail is dropped to 0MW with the rebid reason being ‘due to plant related issues’.

(B2)  From the ‘Generator Outages’ widget in ez2view

This ‘Generator Outages’ widget has been upgraded in a soon-to-be-released v9.8 for changes going live in the market from Monday 9th October 2023.  Stay tuned to the Release Notes for more…

This snapshot comes from v9.7.3.112 which is an upgrade produced for somewhat related reasons:


Alas it shows no forward-looking MT PASA DUID Availability data for the battery in question.

1)  I’m not 100% sure of why, but suspect that this is due to the fact that the unit’s still only in commissioning?

2)  More?




Thankfully it seems that (as was the case with the Victoria Big Battery fire in mid 2021), the design and fire protection systems worked such that this did not not damage the whole facility.


As one of our avid readers has already commented directly to me … just what we need when summer 2023-24 is looming up to be a challenging one.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

2 Comments on "Another (Tesla) big battery fire in the NEM … this one at Bouldercombe BESS in QLD"

  1. One small observation: The battery seems to have been charging.

    Now consider recent reports that new apartment buildings must have fast charging facilities installed. Quite apart from the cost of the batteries and their connection, my experience (long ago but not forgotten) in designing fire-resistant buildings is that is a highly technical matter. Combine this with the frequency and severity of large battery fires, it’s time that the community became educated on these matters.

    Quite frankly, the idea of large batteries in parked cars and/or chargers in basements of highrise buildings is, in my estimation, somewhat scary.

    • John

      Can you explain what data you are looking at as the basis for saying ‘The battery seems to have been charging.

      The AEMO market data I am looking at suggests it was last charging at 12:45 (which is what we’d expect – i.e. when prices are low, in the middle of the day).


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