Image credit: Gold Fields
INVESTMENT PRIORITY: Delivering secure and reliable electricity
LEAD ORGANISATION: Agnew Gold Mining Company (part of the Gold Fields Group)
ARENA FUNDING: $13.5 million
TOTAL PROJECT COST: $111.6 million
LOCATION: Goldfields, WA
The Agnew Gold Mine will be the first mine in Australia to be powered by a microgrid using a combination of wind, solar, battery and gas.
The microgrid will consist of five wind turbines in an 18 MW wind farm, a 10,000 panel 4 MW solar farm and a 13 MW / 4 megawatt hour (MWh) Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). Its security and reliability will be reinforced with a 16 MW gas engine power station along with innovative operational practices including the use of predictive solar forecasting technology and dynamic demand-side load management.
Once complete, the microgrid is expected to provide 55 to 60 per cent of the mine’s energy requirements, with the potential to meet almost all energy demand at certain times. It is forecast to reduce the mine’s carbon emissions by some 40,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of removing 8700 cars off the road.
Independent power producer EDL will design, construct, own and operate the microgrid to power the Agnew Gold Mine in two stages, under a 10-year agreement with Gold Fields. The first stage, involving a new off-grid power station incorporating gas, diesel generation and solar, is due to be completed by mid-2019. The second stage, including the wind, battery and microgrid system, started construction during 2019 and is due to be completed in 2020.
HOW THIS PROJECT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
This project marks a growing shift in thinking about powering mine sites and will provide a blueprint for other resources companies to deploy similar off-grid energy solutions. It also helps ARENA continue to build a business case for renewables in mining, which has already been strengthened by other successful projects in the sector such as Rio Tinto’s Weipa project and Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa Solar Project.