PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Gold Fields on Wednesday announced a A$112-million investment into an energy micro-grid combining wind, solar, gas and battery storage at its Agnew mine, in Western Australia.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) will contribute A$13.5-million in funding for the micro-grid, which will consist of five wind turbines delivering an 18 MW wind farm, a 10 000 panel 4 MW solar farm and a 13 MW/4 MWh battery energy storage system with security and reliability of a micro-grid underpinned with a 16 MW gas engine power station.
Gold Fields Australia executive VP Stuart Mathews said that the Agnew hybrid micro-grid project, which would be developed by global energy group EDL, reflected the company’s strategic objective to strengthen energy security, optimise energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint through innovation and the adoption of new technologies.
“The Arena contribution supports and encourages our efforts. We are making staged investments across our mines in Western Australia to significantly ramp-up the innovative use of renewables to meet our dynamic and growing load requirements,” Mathews said.
EDL will design, construct, own and operate the micro-grid to power the Agnew mine, in two stages, under a ten-year agreement with Gold Fields.
The first stage, involving a new offgrid power station incorporating gas, diesel generation and solar, is due to be completed in mid-2019. The second stage, including the wind, battery and micro-grid system, recently started construction and will be completed in 2020.
The hybrid microgrid at Agnew follows the announcement of a micro-grid at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine, featuring 20 000 solar panels and a 2 MW /1 MWh battery system planned for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019.
“The configuration of Agnew’s hybrid solution is a first for Gold Fields, and is an excellent example of using innovation and technology to improve efficiencies and lower costs. We are fast sharing lessons from this project with our other regions, as part of our global strategic initiatives to improve our security of supply and reduce carbon emissions,” Mathews said.
Arena CEO Darren Miller said this project marked a growing shift in thinking around powering mine sites.
“The project Gold Fields is undertaking will provide a blueprint for other companies to deploy similar off-grid energy solutions and demonstrate a pathway for commercialisation, helping to decarbonise the mining and resources sector,” he added.