Tag Archives: solar

EDL brings 56 MW hybrid renewable energy project online at Gold Fields’ Agnew mine

Global energy producer EDL says it has successfully completed the 56 MW Agnew Hybrid Renewable project for Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in Western Australia.

All five wind turbines are now up and running and successfully integrated into Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid, and the first in the country to power a mine with wind-generated electricity, it said.

In favourable weather conditions, the project has delivered up to 70% of Agnew’s power requirements with renewable energy, according to the company. This is significant as the Agnew mine consists of two underground complexes and one 1.3 Mt/y processing plant consisting of a three-stage crushing circuit, two-stage milling circuit, gravity circuit and carbon-in-pulp circuit.

Upon announcing the project in June 2019, Gold Fields and EDL said the A$112 million ($78 million) investment would help create a “world-leading energy microgrid combining wind, solar, gas and battery storage”.

The project comprises four key components controlled by an advanced microgrid system. This includes five 110 m wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140 m, delivering 18 MW; a 10,710-panel solar farm generating 4 MW; a 13 MW/4 MWh battery system; and an off-grid 21 MW gas/diesel engine power plant.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided A$13.5 million ($8.7 million) in funding to the project as part of its Advancing Renewables Program.

EDL Chief Executive Officer, James Harman, said: “We applaud Gold Fields for their vision in embarking on this journey with us, and their role in leading the Australian mining industry’s transition to clean, reliable renewable energy.

“We also acknowledge the incredible achievement of the EDL project delivery team and our contractors. We faced transport challenges during the bushfires and impacts on personnel from COVID-19 restrictions, as well as geographical, logistics and technical challenges to safely construct this innovative energy facility in the remote WA Goldfields region.”

Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said the completion of the project was an important milestone for Gold Fields, EDL and the broader mining industry.

“We are proud to be able to showcase this project with EDL as an outstanding example of the capacity of the hybrid renewable energy model to meet the dynamic power requirements of remote mining operations.

“For our people and our stakeholders, this is a very clear demonstration of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint whilst strengthening our security of supply.

“Having built our internal technical capability and developed strong relationships with our business partners, we are well placed to continue to implement renewables solutions elsewhere in our business.”

Pacific Energy expands into solar and battery microgrid sector with Hybrid Systems buy

Pacific Energy is looking to strengthen its renewables focus having added solar and battery microgrid specialist Hybrid Systems Australia (Hybrid Systems) to the group.

Taken private in a deal last year involving funds advised by Australian diversified alternatives asset manager QIC, Pacific Energy has previously designed, built, and operated power solutions for miners in remote locations.

The addition of Hybrid Systems will help existing mining customers reduce their carbon footprint, while establishing a foothold for Pacific Energy in the fast-developing market for Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) and microgrid systems, according to Pacific Energy Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Cullen.

“This transaction delivers a talented and cutting-edge team experienced in the integrated renewables market, where decentralisation, decarbonisation and cost reductions are generating significant new growth opportunities,” he said.

“We gain home-grown, in-house experience in the integration of renewable energy with traditional remote power generation technology. It’s closely adjacent and highly complementary to Pacific Energy’s core business.”

Pacific Energy will maintain the Hybrid Systems brand name and offer support to accelerate growth and capitalise on opportunities in the hybrid power systems market, he added.

Hybrid Systems offering includes the supply of integrated SPS, microgrid and battery energy storage systems ranging from 3 kW for single “fringe of grid” customers up to 10 MW microgrid systems for towns and mine sites.

Multotec renews power commitment in South Africa

Mineral processing original equipment manufacturer Multotec says it has installed renewable power at one of its facilities in Spartan near Johannesburg, South Africa.

The investment saw 684 photovoltaic solar panels being installed in November 2019, creating a 223 kW generating system. It serves Multotec’s most energy-intensive works – its injection moulding facility – providing almost 20% of the daily electricity demand, the company says.

According to Multotec’s Group Manufacturing Executive, Werner Stessl, the impact of the system is both economic and environmental.

“Multotec is committed to environmental sustainability and we value the fact that this installation is likely to save about 30,000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions each month,” Stessl said. “This is the equivalent of planting about 100 trees a month.”

He says the organisation has been carefully monitoring its rising electricity costs and sought a responsible solution that would leverage the latest renewable energy technology. In collaboration with solar power experts Energy Capital, a thorough investigation of its energy consumption and available opportunities was conducted.

“After months of planning and research, it was established that we could run a battery-less system which would valuably augment our current municipal supply,” Stessl said. “After some structural engineering to prepare our designated roof areas, the panels were efficiently placed and linked up by mid-November last year.”

To date, the system has more than met Multotec’s expectations, which were contractually guaranteed by the service provider, it said. The detailed upfront investigation showed that the installation could be repaid by energy savings within about four-and-a-half years. System performance – right down to the electricity generated by each PV solar panel – can be monitored daily on an online dashboard, he says.

The local municipality has also begun to benefit from Multotec’s initiative, as there is usually ‘overflow’ power generated at weekends the moulding facility does not need. This excess electricity is now channelled back into the main grid by Multotec, at no cost to the municipality.

Anglo American renews clean energy commitment in Brazil

Atlas Renewable Energy, a leading renewable energy company in Latin America, and Anglo American have signed the largest solar energy purchase and sale contract in Brazil worth an estimated BRL881 million ($190 million).

The clean energy supply contract will see the Atlas Casablanca photovoltaic solar plant, in Minas Gerais, supply about 9 TWh over a 15-year period, commencing in 2022.

This contract is part of Anglo American’s strategy to use 100% renewable energy for its operations in Brazil as of 2022 and is part of Anglo American’s Sustainable Mining Plan, which has among its goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.

In addition to the Minas-Rio iron ore operation, in Minas Gerais, Anglo also has the Barro Alto nickel operation (Goiás).

The Atlas Casablanca solar plant has an installed capacity of 330 MW with more than 800,000 modules, according to Atlas. This is enough energy to supply a city of 1.4 million inhabitants, according to the average consumption of a Brazilian family, it says.

“Atlas Renewable Energy will use bifacial modules in the Atlas Casablanca solar plant, a cutting-edge technology in the generation of solar energy,” the company said. “These novel solar panels are able to use the reflection of the sun’s rays from their front and back sides, increasing the efficiency of the photoelectric conversion, and therefore increasing the energy generation and efficiency of the plant.”

Wilfred Bruijn, CEO of Anglo American in Brazil, said: “With this agreement and the contract for the construction of a wind power plant in Bahia (an agreement with AES Tietê) signed in December, we will now be sourcing 90% of our energy from renewable sources, leading to a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions associated with our activities.”

Carlos Barrera, Atlas Renewable Energy CEO, said: “Atlas is leading in the new trend of providing clean energy directly to large energy consumers. The forms of supply are being transformed, making clean sources available to large companies, thus reducing their carbon footprint and production costs.

“Atlas is proud of pioneering, once again, the bilateral solar PPA in a new Latin American country. Our team was the first to implement a solar Private PPA in Chile some eight years ago, and now we do so in Brazil. We would like to acknowledge and congratulate Anglo American’s leadership for their commitment to become a more sustainable institution.”

Nevada Gold Mines adds natural gas to power remit, mulls solar options

Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) says it has approved the conversion of its TS Coal Power Plant to a dual fuel process, allowing the facility to generate power from natural gas.

This conversion, which will enable the facility to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 50%, is in support of Nevada’s carbon-reduction objectives and is in partnership with Governor Sisolak’s administration, NGM said.

NGM is currently working with the State of Nevada on final permitting to allow construction to begin near the end of 2020, with the goal of final commissioning in the June quarter of 2022.

As part of its overall energy management strategy, NGM is also reviewing the potential for a 200 MW solar facility with battery storage. The intention is to phase construction, initially installing 100 MW that could produce power as early as 2022. A study is currently underway and, once the project is approved, NGM will work with the State of Nevada and the Office of Energy on permitting, it said.

Greg Walker, Executive Managing Director, NGM, said: “Nevada Gold Mines is committed to providing its operations low cost, secure power generation through northeastern Nevada’s power grid now and into the future. The conversion of NGM’s TS Power Plant and the potential for an additional solar power facility illustrates this commitment while reducing the State’s carbon emissions.”

NGM has two power generation facilities in northern Nevada with the TS Power Plant in Dunphy and the Western 102 Power Plant outside of Reno. The TS Power Plant commenced operation in 2008 and has a capacity of 215 MW power generation from its original coal-fired process. The Western 102 Power Plant has a capacity of 115 MW, supplying power from natural gas fired generators and a 1 MW Solar Facility, according to NGM.

Zenith Energy and Independence celebrate solar start up at Nova

Operations at Independence Group’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in the Fraser Range of Australia are now being powered by a mix of diesel and solar energy after the on-site hybrid solar PV-diesel facility started up.

Zenith Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, Zenith Pacific, built the plant. The ASX-listed power company also owns and operates the facility, which, it said, is already exceeding performance targets for power output and energy efficiency.

The two signed a contract back in 2018, amending an existing power purchase agreement.

Within the 26.6 MW facility is 5.5 MW of state-of-the-art photovoltaic (PV) modules, single axis tracking, inverters and communications and control system technology, according to Zenith Energy’s Managing Director, Hamish Moffat. The system also features high-efficiency diesel-fuelled generators that combine with this control system to optimise solar and diesel power delivery.

Moffat said: “The proprietary hybrid system developed by the company is able to seamlessly manage the fluctuations in solar PV energy production to provide smooth, reliable power, without the need for batteries to stabilise energy delivery to Nova.”

He explained that batteries have their place in energy systems but are still expensive to deploy for these applications.

“Our unique, locally developed hybrid system eliminates the need for batteries and represents a major step forward in the capital cost optimisation, operating efficiency and environmental performance of solar PV hybrid energy systems in remote locations,” he added.

According to Moffat, the system is saving Nova in the order of 6,500 litres of diesel a day, and it is the first hybrid solar PV-diesel installation to have been funded on a commercial, standalone basis – without any government subsidies.

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci, said: “At IGO we are striving to reduce our carbon footprint. The implementation of new technologies with the construction of a hybrid‐solar system at Nova will enable IGO to reduce our CO2-equivalent emissions by approximately 6,500 t per annum. The solar facility will also decrease our cost structure through reductions in our diesel fuel usage.”

As part of an agreement between the two companies, Zenith will supply power from the solar PV‐diesel hybrid system for an initial six‐year period, with an option for Independence to extend for a further two years.

Nova is expected to produce 6,750-7,500 t of nickel concentrate in the year ending June 30, 2020, alongside 2,750-3,125 t of copper concentrate and 213-238 t of cobalt concentrate, according to the miner’s September quarter results.

Metso looks to grind down GHG emissions with energy-efficient technology

Having recently won the approval of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, Metso’s Climate Program now has the recognition it deserves.

The GHG goals are applicable to all relevant emission sources: production, procurement, inbound and outbound transportation as well as the use of Metso’s products.

Following on from this environmental win, IM put some questions to Metso’s Director of Sustainable Business Development, Kaisa Jungman, to find out what impact these climate change aims might have on the mining equipment manufacturers’ product offering and how the company is already leading from the front with its environmental sustainability initiatives.

It’s worth acknowledging, first, that these GHG goals are all-encompassing.

As a scope 1 and 2 GHG target, Metso has committed to a 25% reduction in carbon emissions in production by 2030, while 30% of its suppliers – in terms of spend – are required to set science-based emission targets by 2024. Metso also aims for a 20% reduction in transportation emissions by 2025 (scope 3 GHG emissions target) by streamlining transportation routes and optimising warehouse locations.

Through extensive research and development work, Metso says it has been able to significantly reduce the energy consumption in customer processes. To continue this development, the company is aiming for a 10% reduction in GHG emissions in the most “energy-intensive customer processes” using Metso products by 2025.

The company is also demanding energy-efficiency targets in its Metso R&D projects, and offsetting flight emissions by 100% by 2021.

The target to lower GHG emissions by 10% in the most “energy-intensive customer processes” stood out in these targets, and it was hardly surprising to find out grinding falls into this category.

“Grinding is the most energy-intensive stage of minerals processing,” Jungman said. “Overall, it is estimated that comminution counts for 3-5% of the energy consumption in the world and grinding is part of this.”

In the company’s climate program it has included three of its products – the HRC™ high pressure grinding roll, Vertimill® and stirred SMD (stirred media detritor) – to help achieve this 10% cut in GHGs.

“We have estimated, based on our installed base, in 2018, that approximately 1,073,648 t of CO2 emissions were saved through these energy efficient grinding technologies,” she said, explaining that these savings were calculated by comparing its three solutions with conventional technology.

At this stage, it is only the HRC, Vertimill and SMD included in this calculation – due to their substantial energy and emission reduction credentials and the company’s ability to quantify accurately the estimated savings – but Jungman said Metso plans to widen the scope of the technologies to be included.

“In addition to our climate program, we are also looking into other environmental benefits the customers are gaining through our solutions,” she said.

“To improve energy and emissions efficiency in the future, our target is that all our R&D projects will set energy-efficiency targets by 2021.”

She concluded on these technologies: “I would say that this climate program is an important first step and we will continue developing even more comprehensive sustainability targets for our technologies.”

When it comes to displaying evidence of where the company is reducing scope 1 (generated from fuels used in production) and 2 (generated from purchased energy) emissions, Jungman could point to several examples.

“We have installed solar panels in some of our locations already and are looking now for opportunities to install more in several locations in the coming years,” she said.

In some of the company’s facilities, a percentage of the electricity it purchases is already from renewable sources, and Metso is investigating the possibilities of expanding this, Jungman added.

“In addition to electricity consumption, we are also searching for renewable alternatives for the other forms of our energy consumption, including, for example, replacing natural gas consumption with renewable alternatives.”

The company has also, in recent years, invested in many energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, according to Jungman.

“As an example, in our foundry in China, we have invested in a new type of melting furnace to gain better energy efficiency.

“In another production location, we have installed technology to recover process heat from the exhaust air to be used as heating energy. We have also invested in the process automation and insulation of the furnaces to gain better energy efficiency.”

She concluded: “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is something we take seriously, and to which Metso is fully committed. We want all our stakeholders to be involved in the work to reach these important targets and to aim even higher.”

Strandline, Woodside and EDL to work on ‘world-first’ power project for Coburn

Strandline Resources has selected Woodside and EDL to provide a fully integrated energy solution for its Coburn mineral sands project, in Western Australia.

The parties have signed a non-binding proposal for the development of a 27 MW integrated trucked LNG, storage and power station facility, comprising gas and diesel back-up generators combined with state-of-the-art solar and battery technology, it said.

The Woodside and EDL joint venture (WEJV) was formed to provide clean, reliable and affordable LNG to market, according to Strandline.

“This world-first trucked LNG to hybrid renewable microgrid project will see EDL bring its turnkey expertise to the project’s power station and LNG storage and re-gasification facilities, with LNG supplied from Woodside’s Pluto LNG truck loading facility near Karratha, Western Australia,” Strandline said.

It is expected that contract documentation, in the form of a 15-year power purchase agreement, will be finalised over the coming months in readiness for the commencement of construction, Strandline said.

The WEJV solution provides Strandline with a long-term safe, reliable and highly efficient energy solution for Coburn, according to the developer.

EDL was recently involved in the start up of phase one of a hybrid power project at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine, also in Western Australia (pictured).

Coburn, meanwhile, is a mineral sands deposit hosting “exceptional” zircon and titanium mineral sands products, Strandline says. The project benefits from being situated in the well-established mining jurisdiction of Western Australia, close to key road, port and services infrastructure.

The company recently completed a definitive feasibility study on Coburn, which showed the project could generate a pre-tax net present value of A$551 million ($377 million) using a US$:A$ of 0.72, an 8% discount rate, and development capital of A$207 million for the heavy mineral concentrate produce case, with an additional A$50 million required for the final products case (including mineral separation plant infrastructure).

Gold Fields Agnew hybrid power project starts up

Global distributed energy producer EDL has switched on its 23 MW power station, which integrates photovoltaic solar with gas and diesel generation, to power Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine, in Western Australia.

This switch-on completes the first stage of one of Australia’s largest hybrid renewable micro-grid projects, according to EDL.

EDL CEO, James Harman, said: “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.”

Gold Fields Executive Vice President: Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said: “The power station we are officially opening today integrates 4 MW solar generation from our new solar farm and is underpinned by 19 MW of gas and diesel generation. It will soon include other renewable energy technologies coming online in the next stage of the project.”

He referred to the importance of the A$112 million ($76 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. We are hopeful that this will also enable other companies to consider the options for decarbonising their operations.”

The second stage of the project, which includes 18 MW wind generation, a 13 MW battery and an advanced micro-grid control system, is currently under construction and due to be completed in mid-2020.

It has the backing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency with a recoupable A$13.5 million contribution to the construction cost of the project.

Once completed, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable project will be the first to use wind generation as part of a large hybrid micro-grid in the Australian mining sector. It will have a total installed generation capacity of 54 MW, with renewables providing over 50% 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.

As part of the EDL remit, juwi Renewable Energy, the Australia subsidiary of international project developer juwi, delivered a 4 MW Single Axis Tracking PV installation together with cloud forecasting and an advanced micro-grid control system to enable integration with the mine off-grid network.

BHP builds its ‘green’ copper credentials at Escondida, Spence

BHP says new renewable energy contracts it has recently signed in Chile will reduce energy prices for its Escondida and Spence copper mines by around 20% and help displace up to 3 Mt/y of CO2 emissions from these operations.

These agreements not only benefit BHP’s business but generate strong environmental and social value, according to Daniel Malchuk, President Operations for BHP’s Minerals Americas business.

BHP operates and own 57.5% of the Escondida mine, a leading producer of copper concentrate and cathodes from a copper porphyry deposit, in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Spence, which is 100% owned by BHP, is also in northern Chile.

He said: “Population growth and higher living standards combined with greater electrification are expected to push up demand for copper. This means that copper in products such as electric cars and renewable energy infrastructure, which are vital to the world’s sustainable growth, must be produced to the highest environmental aspirations.”

The new energy contracts, along with BHP’s investment in desalinated water in Chile, demonstrate social value in action and help drive the wider agenda for sustainable green copper, according to Malchuk.

Social value is one strategic pillar the company embeds in all its decision-making and informs the way in which it provides resources and generates long-term, sustainable value. This was the subject of BHP Chief External Affairs Officer, Geoff Healy’s speech in London earlier this month.

Malchuk said the company has negotiated four new power contracts that will meet its energy requirements at Escondida and Spence from 100% renewable energy sources by the mid-2020s.

“When fully operational, these renewable supply arrangements will eliminate virtually all of Escondida and Spence Scope 2 emissions (emissions from purchased energy), effectively displacing up to 3 Mt of CO2 annually compared to the fossil fuel contracts they replace,” he said. “This is the equivalent to annual emissions from about 700,000 combustion engine cars and accounts for around 70% of BHP’s Minerals Americas total greenhouse gas emissions.”

These actions also support Chile’s wider “Energia 2025” power policy target for 20% of all Chilean energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

Following a competitive tender process, Escondida and Spence agreed separate 15-year contracts for 3 TWh/y and 10-year contracts for 3 TWh/year with ENEL Generación Chile and Colbún respectively. The ENEL contracts will begin in August 2021 and the Colbún contracts in January 2022, BHP said, with power supplied from solar, wind and hydro sources.

Malchuk said: “These contracts are practical examples of our commitment to social value that are linked to a sound business case. We estimate the agreements will reduce energy prices at our Escondida and Spence copper mine operations by around 20%, provide our operations flexibility and security of supply, and strengthen our ability to deliver sustainable copper across our supply chain.”

On top of this, the company has confirmed that its Spence operations will begin using desalinated water as the main source of supply from mid-2020 upon completion of a 1,000 l/s capacity desalination plant. This was part of a plan the company outlined in 2017 to grow the Spence operation.

This is on top of the more than $4 billion, 2,500-l/s desalination plant the company built at Escondida.

Malchuk said: “Water is a precious commodity that is critical to our operations in Chile and to the communities where we operate in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions in the world. We recognise our operations have an impact on the environment given the immense amount of water they consume.”

He added: “Our Water Stewardship position statement, launched last month, outlines our vision for a water secure world by 2030. It sets out our actions to improve water management within our operations and contribute to more effective water governance beyond the mine gate.

“We strongly support the UN Sustainable Development Goals on access to clean and affordable water. That’s why we will set public targets and engage industry, communities and governments to improve governance, transparency and collaboration in water management.”