Gas and Renewable Power Combined at Australian Gold Mine
Exactly 2 years after replacing the existing diesel power station with a high-speed, gas-fuelled reciprocating engine station, Aggreko is now working with Gold Fields to introduce renewables at its Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia.
Aggreko won the contract to build and operate the 21 MW power station in 2016, and has since worked with Gold Fields on plans to provide 7.3 MW of solar power generation, as well as a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, to be integrated with the existing gas supply as a hybrid power station.
Since acquiring battery storage company Younicos last year, Aggreko has been able to bring together multiple technologies and power sources to support off-grid applications at remote mine sites. “We recently announced the availability of microgrids-as-a-service for customers who want to leverage the benefits of hybrid energy solutions while minimising capital outlay,” said Karim Wazni, Managing Director of Younicos. “This system will be the first time Aggreko incorporates battery storage into a hybrid power system, and – significantly – it’s a rental, which underscores the value and appeal of this new model.”
“Our mining clients have faced a challenging market place and power generation is a significant proportion of operating costs. Our global capability offers additional flexibility which reduces investment and operational risk,” said George Whyte, Managing Director of Aggreko AusPac. “Aggreko’s focus is on fuel efficiency and reliability in line with the power demand over the life of the mine,” Mr Whyte said.
Stuart Mathews, Executive Vice President Australasia at Gold Fields, said that in addition to the cost efficiency and reliability benefits of the new hybrid power station, the upgrade reflected Gold Fields’ commitment to the increased usage of renewable and low-carbon energy sources throughout the Group. Gold Fields is committed to using renewables for at least 20% of total life-of-mine power requirements in new projects.
“The integration of renewables at Granny Smith mine is a demonstration of Gold Fields’ ongoing commitment to both environmental sustainability and innovation at its operations. These proposed new measures are intended to reduce our carbon footprint by utilising the latest hybrid energy technologies,” Mr Mathews said.
Gold Fields currently operates all three of its Western Australian gold mines by using gas-powered electricity.
The proposed new hybrid power station, combined with a thermal station expansion at Granny Smith mine will meet the increased daily power needs of the entire mine of 24.2 MW, with 8 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 16.2 MW for the processing plant, associated facilities and the mine camp.