UK-based power solutions provider Aggreko has signed a contract with mining firm Gold Fields Australia to design, build and operate a hybrid renewable-energy and battery storage system at the Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia.
Claimed to be one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids made of more than 20,000 solar panels, the new power storage system can generate 8MWp of solarpower. It is backed up by a 2MW/1MWh battery system that will be integrated with 24.2MW of existing natural-gas generation.
According to Gold Fields Australasia executive vice-president Stuart Mathews, the renewable energy microgrid is part of the firm’s sustainable gold mining initiative.
Mathews said: “We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy, which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations.”
For this project, Aggreko will deliver solar, thermal and battery storage assets, which will be integrated and managed by its control software platform.
The solar-plus-battery system is expected to annually generate 18GWh of clean energy and also reduce fuel consumption by around 10%-13%.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) is expected to reduce the need to run thermal generators, while the battery component will provide services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support.
Construction works at the site are expected to begin in May and complete by the end of this year.
This new hybrid power system and thermal station expansion at the mining site will meet the increased daily power requirements of 24.2MW of the complete mine. Of the 24.2MW, Wallaby underground mine will be allocated 12.2MW of power, while the remaining 12MW will be for the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp.
Currently, Gold Fields uses gas-powered generating systems at three of its gold mines in Western Australia.
Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions business unit managing director Karim Wazni said: “We are on the industry forefront in offering a range of microgrid configurations on an as-a-service basis for users who want to leverage the benefits of a hybrid energy solution while minimising capital outlay.
“The Granny Smith power station is a flagship example of what can be done with advanced technologies, intelligent engineering, and a committed, innovation-minded customer.”
In 2016, Aggreko designed and installed the Granny Smith power station, which is located east of Laverton in Western Australia. Aggreko converted Gold Fields site’s diesel power station to natural gas power.