PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Independent power producer Zenith Energy is partnering with ASX-listed IGO at its Nova nickel/copper/cobalt operation, in Western Australia, to trial running the mine site on 100% renewable energy continuously for up to nine hours a day.
The mine site is currently powered by a hybrid solar and diesel engine system and Zenith will expand its renewable energy capabilities through the addition of an extra 10 MW of solar panels, and a 10 MWh battery energy storage system.
Zenith’s executive manager for growth, Dominic Da Cruz said it would boost renewable penetration on site, to allow for 100% renewable power generation during daylight hours, weather conditions withstanding.
Da Cruz said Zenith is taking on the responsibility of not only developing the concepts to advance renewable solutions, but also piloting and proving the integration of technologies needed.
“The Nova 2.0 project will require us to integrate specific technology into the power system to provide inertia and stability, ensuring a continuous, reliable supply of power.”
While Nova would continue to rely on diesel-generated power overnight and during inclement weather conditions, Da Cruz said he was confident the industry was approaching a tipping point whereby 100% renewable power generation would be possible 24/7.
“Zenith is already looking at what subsequent steps are needed to achieve this, including how we make wind assets relocatable to achieve higher levels of renewables penetration, and the integration of long-duration storage.”
“It’s an exciting time not just for Zenith as a company, but for the entire industry. We’re making real progress in the decarbonization space and what that might look like for the sector moving forward.”
IGO COO Matt Dusci said that the trial was an important next step in IGO’s journey towards carbon neutrality.
“By supporting greater uses of renewable energy at our Nova operation, it will set a new industry benchmark in renewable energy integration and demonstrates our commitment to decarbonise our business.
“As a company we continue to challenge ourselves on continuous improvement. We are now at a point where technology and cost structure are enabling powering of an entire mining operation with 100% renewable penetration.”