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An isolated gold mine in Western Australia plans to become the first in the country to get its power from combined wind and solar generation on site, as projects increasingly look to co-locate the two technologies as a way to overcome intermittent renewable power.
Stage one of the hybrid renewable project at Gold Fields Ltd.’s Agnew mine, located nearly 645 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Perth, was officially opened Wednesday, comprising an off-grid gas power station backed by diesel and solar generation. In the second stage, due to be completed in 2020, five wind turbines and battery storage will be added, to provide the mine with over 50% renewable energy.
“This innovative, Australia-first project is setting the standard for powering mine sites throughout Western Australia,” Bill Johnston, Western Australia state minister for mines, petroleum and energy, said in a media statement. The EDL Energy-led project will be Australia’s largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid, according to the statement.
Australia is seen as having some of the best locations in the world for co-located wind and solar power. The site for Windlab Ltd.’s Kennedy Energy Park project in northern Queensland state, due to start operation in early 2020, was chosen for its abundant sunshine, complemented by winds that tend to blow at night time.