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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Gold Fields will install one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgids at its Granny Smith gold mine, in Western Australia.
The miner on Tuesday said that more than 20 000 solar panels and a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system would be installed at the mine, with the grid to be operational by the fourth quarter of this year, executive VP for Australasia Stuart Mathews said.
The company has contracted mobile and modular powercompany Aggreko to design, build and operate the 8 MW solar power generation system along with the battery system at Granny Smith.
“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,” Mathews said.
“We expect the renewable power microgrid will be up and running at Granny Smith by Q4 2019 and it will be a welcome addition to our suite of on-site energy solutions across other operations which will enable us to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Construction of the renewable energy system will start in May and, when completed, will be one of the world's largest hybrid off-grid microgrids and integrated with Aggreko’s existing 24.2 MW natural gas generation.
The current Granny Smith power station was designed and installed by Aggreko in 2016 and the new hybrid power system, combined with a thermal station expansion will meet the increased daily power needs of 24.2 MW, with 12.2 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12 MW to the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp.
Aggreko AusPac MD George Whyte, said the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will be seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggreko’s control software platform, maintaining full system availability and optimising the lifetime of existing thermal assets.
“The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10% to 13%, the equivalent of removing 2 000 cars from the road, and produce about 18 GWh of clean energy per year,” Whyte said.
While the solar photovoltaic (PV) system will reduce the need to run thermal generators, the battery plant will provide essential services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support.