A consortium comprising European engineering group Siemens, Japan wind farm operator Eurus and a Danish company called Danvest says it is looking to supply wind energy to remote mining sites in Australia.
The three companies say they are in talks for a $300 million wind and diesel power station – to be built at an undisclosed location. According to comments made to The Australian newspaper, this would involve a 30MW wind farm, which doesn’t sound like much for the money spent.
Siemens head of wind power proposals Andrew Riggs told The Australian that combining wind power with diesel plants would provide a cheaper and cleaner option for mine operators.
“The miners now have a real sharp cost focus due to external factors over the past 12 months, so now when you walk in the door with a cost-saving idea, as opposed to a volume increase, you’re getting attention,” Riggs said.
He told the newspaper that if all goes well, the first deal could see a plant, including a transmission line and other items, that could deliver 30MW of power signed off.
Siemens says it is confident that wind power can provide about 60 per cent of site needs, and could stand up without subsidies. He suggested that was more than could be provided by solar.
Solar technologies are attracting interest from miners, with Rio Tinto spending $23 million on a solar PV plus storage project, and Sandfire Resources spending $40 million on a larger solar and storage project in WA. Other miners are also interested, according to developers looking at solar thermal with storage projects near Kalgoorlie.
The Siemens proposal does not use storage because it will exploit “fast-acting” diesel technology developed by Danvest d that allows the diesel power to be ready at a moment’s notice when the wind drops.
Note: RenewEconomy sought further details from Siemens. We spoke to Riggs, who said he couldn’t talk without approval from his media team, but he couldn’t contact them. We spoke to the media team, who said they couldn’t contact Riggs. We hope their wind turbines are more efficient.