18/05/2020 - 15:24

$112m microgrid complete

18/05/2020 - 15:24

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A $112 million hybrid microgrid to power Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine has been completed, with 22 megawatts of renewable capacity, a battery, and gas/diesel backup plant in what the company claims is the largest such grid in Australia.

$112m microgrid complete
These wind turbines will power the Agnew gold mine.

A $112 million hybrid microgrid to power Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine has been completed, with 22 megawatts of renewable capacity, a battery, and gas/diesel backup plant in what the company claims is the largest such grid in Australia.

The operation has five wind turbines generating 18MW and a 10,710 panel solar farm generating 4MW.

The gas generator has a capacity of 21MW while the battery can store up to 4MW hours with output of 13MW.

A microgrid is a power grid that can operate separately and reliably from the main network, and it is a concept gaining traction in remote WA.

It was built and will be operated by Brisbane-based utility EDL for 10 years through an electricity supply agreement, with contractors including Southern Cross Electrical Engineering, Goldwind, Juwi and Cummins.

All of this was supported by a $13.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

EDL chief executive James Harman said the project had faced major challenges during the bushfires and through the impact of COVID-19.

Gold Fields executive vice-president Australasia Stuart Mathews touted the project as important for the 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,” Mr Mathews said.

“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.”

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