Solar panels
Image credit: Aggreko

Aggreko has partnered with global gold miner Gold Fields to complete the installation of one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids at the Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia.

The new hybrid power system, which has been integrated with Aggreko’s existing gas-fired power station, is powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and supported by a 2MW/1MWh battery system. Once fully operational, it will reduce the mine’s fuel consumption by 10-13% – the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road.

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In total, the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will produce around 18GWh of energy every year, with carbon emissions at the mine expected to be reduced by approximately 9,500 tCO2e.

The solar PV will reduce the need to run thermal generators at the mine, while the battery plant will provide essential services such as PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support. The assets are being managed by Aggreko’s control software platform which rapidly deploys automated responses to avoid issues and predicts future problems.

The solar and battery power facility is fully integrated with Aggreko’s existing 27MW natural gas generation and complements Gold Fields’ suite of on-site energy solutions across other operations.

Gold Fields executive vice president Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said: “Here in Australia and globally our company is committed to addressing climate change impacts by transitioning towards an energy mix that increasingly embraces renewables and lower carbon fuel sources.”

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“The Granny Smith microgrid and the renewable energy solution at our Agnew mine are a clear demonstration of the innovative steps we are taking to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our operations,” Matthews said.

Aggreko’s AusPac managing director, George Whyte, said: “Demand for decentralised energy solutions has skyrocketed over the past few years as companies look past the grid for power solutions to help them meet their unique needs. The hybrid assets we’ve delivered for the Granny Smith mine will help Gold Fields reduce operating costs and carbon emissions with the flexibility and capital expenditure savings that comes with rental solutions.”