Wind, solar and battery microgrid at W.A. gold mine an “Australian first”

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A remote Western Australia gold mine has won $13.5m in ARENA funding to add 18MW of wind power to a 23MW solar, battery and gas microgrid.

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One Step Off The Grid

A hybrid wind, solar, battery and gas microgrid being built to power a Western Australian gold mine has won backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

ARENA will provide $13.5 million in funding towards the “Australia-first” project that is being built to power the Agnew Gold Mine, owned by a subsidiary of the South Africa-based Gold Fields Group.

The hybrid microgrid will combine a five-turbine, 18MW wind farm with a 10,000-panel, 4MW solar farm and a 13MW/4MWh battery system (BESS), underpinned by a 16MW gas engine power station, and back-up diesel. The all-up cost, including gas and diesel and pipeline, is $112 million.

In a statement on Wednesday, ARENA said the project would mark the first time the Australian mining sector has used wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid.

That said, a strikingly similar remote hybrid renewables project – although this one grid-connected – was also tapped for funding by ARENA on Wednesday.

That project, which is combining refurbished (second-hand) wind turbines, with solar and battery storage to power a garnet mine near Kalbarri, is due to be completed by the end of this year.

The Gold Fields project at Agnew – due for completion in 2020, the solar is already installed – is being designed, built and will be owned and operated under a 10-year contract by distributed energy outfit EDL.

The combination of wind, solar and battery is expected to provide the mine with up to 60 per cent of its energy requirements, and – at times – will meet all of its power needs with renewables.

To read the full story on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, click here…

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