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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Gold Fields on Wednesday announced the completion of one of the world's largest renewable energy microgrids at its Granny Smith gold mine, in Western Australia.
The hybrid power system, which has been integrated with an existing gas-fired power station, is powered by more than 20 000 solar panels and supported by a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system.
The solar, thermal and battery storage assets will produce around 18 GWh of energy every year, with carbon emissions at the mine expected to be reduced by about 9 500 t of carbon-dioxide equivalent, and once fully operational, to reduce the mine's fuel consumption by 10% to 13%.
Gold Fields executive VP for Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said the microgrid was a self-contained solution to providing energy in a remote location rather than running a power line hundreds of kilometres.
"Here in Australia, and globally, our company is committed to addressing climate change impacts by transitioning towards an energy mix that increasingly embraces renewables and lower carbon fuel sources.
"The Granny Smith microgrid and the renewable energy solution at our Agnew mine are a clear demonstration of the innovative steps we are taking to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our operations," Matthews said.
The Agnew mine now operates with a 56 MW renewable microgrid and was the first in Australia to power a mine with wind-generated electricity. The project comprises five wind turbines, a solar farm, battery system and off-grid gas/diesel engine power plant.
Matthews said the scale of the Granny Smith solar panels would reduce the need to run thermal generators at the mine.
The Granny Smith energy solution has been installed by energy services provider Aggreko,
Aggreko Australian-Pacific MD George Whyte said on Wednesday that demand for decentralised energy solutions had skyrocketed over the past few years as companies look past the grid for power solutions to help them meet their unique needs.
"The hybrid assets we've delivered for the Granny Smith mine will help Gold Fields reduce operating costs and carbon emissions with the flexibility and capital expenditure savings that comes with rental solutions," Whyte said.