The 23 megawatts hybrid generation project by EDL at the Agnew gold mine has started operations. It integrates solar into gas and diesel micro-grid that will add wind and solar in the first of its type project for a mine.
The initial phase of the hybrid generation project incorporates a 4 megawatts solar farm. 16 megawatts of gas and 3 megawatts diesel generation capacity will supplement the supply. Also, there are plans for expanding the microgrid’s use of renewable energy as part of the $112 million project in the Northern Goldfields region.
EDL CEO James Harman stated his high hopes for the project. “EDL and GoldFields are leading the way towards clean, renewable energy to power off-grid mining operations without compromising power quality.”
In an article, the RenewEconomy website states the project will provide power to the Agnew gold mine, owned by Gold Fields. Stuart Mathews, the company’s Executive Vice President, expresses his hopes for the project to lead other mines in incorporating renewables into their power supplies.
He stated, “This is a significant milestone for both the Agnew gold mine and the broader Gold Fields Group. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to strengthening our energy security, optimizing energy costs, and reducing our carbon footprint through the adoption of new technologies.”
The Next Stage
The second stage of the project is already under construction. It will see EDL bring an additional 18 megawatts of wind generation and a 13MW/4MWh battery storage system. It will also involve the deployment of advanced microgrid control software.
The next phase is set to begin operations in 2020 and will supply the Agnew gold mine with over 50 percent of renewable electricity. Ideally, the microgrid project will supply electricity to the Agnew mine for the next 10 years.
Hopes are High for the Project
The project is considered a part of a wider trend that replaces expensive diesel or gas generators with renewable energy with battery storage. Western Australian Minister for Energy Bill Johnston expressed his support for the hybrid project.
“The McGowan Government is supportive of mining and resources companies that are embracing renewable energy solutions. This innovative, Australia-first project is setting the standard for powering mine sites throughout Western Australia,” he said.
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