Aggreko has been outlining the benefits of its solar-diesel hybrid technology to the global mining sector.

Karim Wazni, Director of Business Development Renewables at Aggreko, tells Energy and Mines website that climbing power costs and reliability of supply are the two biggest energy challenges pushing mines to consider renewables.

“More on and off-grid mines are looking at different alternative power options for a cheaper and a more reliable supply to match their energy needs,” Wazni says. In some regions, renewables are already the most affordable power source due to recent price drops for solar and wind, he adds. “And if renewables are integrated as part of a hybrid system at a mine site, they can drastically drive down energy costs and diesel consumption,” Wazni added.
Aggreko equipment
“Once installed, solar and wind don’t cost much to operate and are very predictable, while diesel is known for its extreme volatility.”

Aggreko’s hybrid equipment enables mining firms to meet their corporate social responsibilities as using diesel alone produces a higher carbon footprint.

“Mines might only be operational for 10-15 years, but renewable power can remain and serve communities for much longer. This shifts the conversation from mines providing a temporary boost in employment to actually leaving a lasting legacy for a community,” says Wazni.

To help mines with their energy needs, Aggreko developed its own hybrid solution, which combines solar with diesel gensets. “We ensure that hybrid plants use diesel and solar power in the most optimal way to provide a reliable and cheap energy under a single contract,” says Wazni.

To address financing challenges, Aggreko is offering flexible contracts. “We are only asking mines for a minimal contract commitment of at least five years,” says Wazni. Aggreko already offers a fleet of containerized diesel, gas and HFO generators for rent, which has facilitated the development of the hybrid system.

“It is our role to make sure that mines understand that hybrid plants are as reliable as any other type of conventional power plants. It is a priority for us to figure out how much solar each mine can integrate during the day and then solve any intermittency issues via gensets.”

Africa, Australia and South America have been deemed the most suitable markets for the company’s solar-diesel combination, due to the abundance of solar power in those geographies.