The Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia is turning to a 7.3 MW solar system and a 2MW/1MWh battery storage installation, as it seeks to reduce its dependence on expensive gas power after its old diesel power station was shut down.
British power generation firm Aggreko replaced the old diesel power station which was supplying the Granny Smith gold mine two years ago with a high-speed, natural gas reciprocating engine station.
The new natural gas facility was billed as being able to reduce CO2 emissions by 85,845 tonnes during the ten-year contract with Aggreko and helped to make the gold mine eligible for the Australian Emissions Reduction Fund.
Aggreko said that it has been working with mine owner Gold Fields to introduce renewable energy to the Granny Smith gold mine and confirmed that it had been awarded the contract to integrate solar and storage with the existing 21 MW gas power station.
The battery system for the project will be provided by German-US energy storage specialist Younicos which Aggreko acquired in July of 2017 for £40 million.
Specifically, the new hybrid power station will be able to meet the increased daily power needs of the entire Granny Smith gold mine, as well as provide 8 MW to the nearby Wallaby underground mine and 16.2 MW for the nearby processing plant, associated facilities, and mine camp.
“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,” said Stuart Mathews, Executive Vice President Australasia at Gold Fields.
He said that the new project will contribute towards the company’s commitment of using renewable energy for at least 20% of total life-of-mine power requirements in new projects.
“These proposed new measures are intended to reduce our carbon footprint by utilising the latest hybrid energy technologies.”
For Younicos, this new project opens the door to demonstrate the value and viability of ‘microgrids-as-a-service’ and combine its operations with the multiple technologies and power sources available to new parent company Aggreko.
“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.”