Global distributed energy producer EDL has switched on its 23MW power station that integrates photovoltaic solar with gas and diesel generation to power Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine, completing the first stage of one of Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid projects.
EDL CEO, James Harman, and Gold Fields Executive Vice President: Australasia, Stuart Mathews, welcomed Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy and Industrial Relations, Bill Johnston, to the site to officially open Stage 1 of the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project.
Mr Harman said EDL was proud to partner with Gold Fields on the landmark project.
“With this project, EDL and Gold Fields are leading the way towards clean, renewable energy to power remote, off-grid mining operations without compromising reliability or power quality,” Mr Harman said.
“The power station we are officially opening today integrates 4MW solar generation from our new solar farm and is underpinned by 19MW of gas and diesel generation. It will soon include other renewable energy technologies coming online in the next stage of the Project.”
Mr Mathews referred to the importance of the AU$112 million project to both Gold Fields and the broader industry.
“This is a significant milestone for both the Agnew gold mine and the broader Gold Fields Group, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to strengthening our energy security,
optimising energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint through the adoption of new Technologies,” Mr Mathews said.
“We are hopeful that this will also enable other companies to consider the options for decarbonising their operations.”
Mr Johnston congratulated EDL and Gold Fields for their collaborative work in completing stage one of this innovative project.
“The McGowan Government is supportive of mining and resources companies that are embracing renewable energy solutions, particularly when it helps reduce their carbon Emissions,” Mr Johnston said.
“This innovative, Australia-first project is setting the standard for mine sites throughout Western Australia.”
The second stage of the project, which includes 18MW wind generation, a 13MW battery and an advanced microgrid control system, is currently under construction and due to be completed in mid 2020. It has the backing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with a recoupable AU$13.5 million contribution to the construction cost of the Project.
Once completed, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project will be the first to utilise wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the Australian mining sector.
It will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW, with renewables providing over 50 per cent of the Agnew gold mine’s power requirements, with the potential to increase this further by adopting innovative operational practices such as the dynamic load shedding, renewables forecasting and load control management.