05/02/2019 - 11:54

Granny Smith to go solar

05/02/2019 - 11:54

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Gold Fields has awarded Aggreko a contract to construct and operate a microgrid with 20,000 solar panels and battery storage, which will be integrated with the existing natural gas power supply to reduce fuel consumption at the Granny Smith gold mine near Laverton.

The Granny Smith mine site will be primarily powered by 20,000 solar panels.

Gold Fields has awarded Aggreko a contract to construct and operate a microgrid with 20,000 solar panels and battery storage, which will be integrated with the existing natural gas power supply to reduce fuel consumption at the Granny Smith gold mine near Laverton.

The solar panels will be collectively capable of generating up to eight megawatts of electricity, as well as a 2MW battery backup system.

In a statement, South Africa-based Gold Fields said construction of the renewable energy system was planned to commence in May and when completed it would be one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids.

It is estimated to be complete in the fourth quarter of this year.

The grid would be integrated with Aggreko’s existing 24.2MW natural gas generation, with 12.2MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12MW to the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp.

Gold Fields Australia executive vice-president Stuart Mathews said the renewable energy microgrid was part of the company’s vision of leadership in sustainable gold mining.

“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,” he said.

Aggreko Australia-Pacific managing director George Whyte said the solar-plus-battery system was projected to reduce fuel consumption by between 10 and 13 per cent, the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road, and produce about 18 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year.

In 2016, Aggreko won a contract with Gold Fields to convert the Granny Smith site’s diesel power station to natural gas power.

Gold Fields also operates the St Ives and Agnew mines in Western Australia, and is in partnership with Gold Road Resources to develop the Gruyere gold project.

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