Hybrid solar microgrid contract won by Aggrekko
Aggreko has been contracted to design, build and operate a hybrid 8MW solar power generation system for Gold Fields’ Granny Smith gold mine, east of Laverton in Western Australia.
Construction of what is expected to be one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and backed up by a 2MW/1MWh battery system will begin in May.
To be integrated with Aggreko’s existing 24.2MW natural gas generation, it will be one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids when completed.
Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said: “We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations.
“We expect the renewable power microgrid will be up and running at Granny Smith by Q4 2019 and it will be a welcome addition to our suite of on-site energy solutions across other operations which will enable us to reduce our carbon footprint,” Stuart said.
Aggreko AusPac Managing Director, George Whyte, said the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will be seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggreko’s control software platform – maintaining full system availability and optimising the lifetime of existing thermal assets.
“The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10-13%; the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road, and produce about 18GWh of clean energy per year,” George said.
“Gold Fields understands the performance, cost and environmental advantages for their operation, as well as the need to integrate this resource into their system without compromising power supply reliability or mining productivity,” he said.
While the solar PV will reduce the need to run thermal generators, the battery plant will provide essential services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support.
The current Granny Smith power station was designed and installed by Aggreko in 2016 and the new hybrid power system, combined with a thermal station expansion will meet the increased daily power needs of 24.2MW, with 12.2MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12 MW to the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp.