The last of five wind turbines has been installed at the Angew gold mine in Western Australia – Australia’s first mining sector project to use wind power as part of a large hybrid renewable microgid.
The five 3.57MW Goldwind turbines make up one component of the ARENA-backed microgrid project that is being developed and operated by EDL under a 10-year agreement to supply power to the Agnew gold mine, which is owned by the company Gold Fields.
As One Step Off The Grid reported in December of last year, the huge turbine parts, including 60m blades, made a 630km road trip from Port Hedland to the mine site, in what was believed to be the longest such truck-trip for components of that size in the world.
Goldwind said on LinkedIn last week that the final turbine had been successfully completed, adding 17.85MW of wind power capacity to the mine’s existing 23MW solar, gas and diesel power station, and a 13MW/4MWh battery control system under construction.
Once completed in mid-2020, Goldwind says the the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW, with renewables supplying more than 50 per cent of the mine’s power requirements.
In comments in November last year, Gold Fields executive vice president Stuart Mathews said he hoped the project would lead to more and more mines integrating renewables into their power supplies.
“This is a significant milestone for both the Agnew gold mine and the broader Gold Fields Group, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to strengthening our energy security, optimising energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint through the adoption of new technologies,” he said.
“We are hopeful that this will also enable other companies to consider the options for decarbonising their operations.”
And consider it they have. Just last week Oz Minerals explained in its results briefing why it had decided to go with a combination of wind, solar and battery storage – over gas – to provide 80 per cent of the power needs of its proposed $1 billion nickel mine in a remote part of Central Australia.
As noted above, the Agnew project has received funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which provided $13.5 million in recoupable finance.