WA gold mine set to be powered by renewable hybrid microgrid

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The Agnew Gold Mine in Western Australia is set to become the first Australian mine to be powered by a wind, solar, battery and gas microgrid as part of a project backed with 13.5 million in funding from ARENA.

The project will consist of five wind turbines delivering an 18 MW wind farm, a 10,000 panel 4 MW solar farm and a 13 MW / 4 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with security and reliability of a microgrid underpinned with a 16 MW gas engine power station.

The microgrid will be designed, constructed, owned and operated by Distributed energy producer EDL and will be delivered in two stages under a 10 year agreement with Gold Fields Group, the owner of the Agnew Gold Mine.

The first stage, which is due to be completed in mid 2019, involves building a new off-grid power station incorporating gas, diesel generation and solar,  while the second stage includes the wind, battery and microgrid system – to be completed in 2020.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project will provide a blueprint for other companies to deploy similar off-grid energy solutions and help decarbonise the mining and resources sector.

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“We’re excited to see more mining companies taking up renewable options and Gold Fields’ project comprising solar, wind and battery is helping to position into a more reliable and sustainable energy supply to call upon for the life of the mine,” Mr Miller said.

Gold Fields Australia Executive Vice-President Stuart Mathews said the renewable energy microgrid is expected to provide 55 to 60% of the energy requirements with the potential to meet almost all energy requirement at certain times.

“The Agnew hybrid microgrid project reflects the company’s strategic objective to strengthen energy security, optimise energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint through innovation and the adoption of new technologies,” Mr Mathews continued.

“The ARENA contribution significantly supports and encourages our efforts.”

Image credit: https://careers.goldfields.com.au