Decentralized Energy

04 Nov 2021

Australia’s Largest Hybrid Renewable Microgrid Officially Opened

04 Nov 2021  by   

After successful commissioning at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agnew Hybrid  Renewable Microgrid was today officially opened in a celebration attended by dignitaries  including the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services Bill Johnston. 

Constructed, owned and operated by global energy producer EDL, the 56MW microgrid  powers Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine with an average of 50–60% renewable energy, even  achieving up to 85% in favourable weather conditions. It is currently Australia’s largest hybrid  renewable microgrid, and the first in the country to power a mine predominantly with wind generated electricity.

The Agnew microgrid integrates five energy technologies to deliver high penetration renewable  energy with 99.99% reliability, a non-negotiable requirement when powering the intense  industrial load demanded by mining operations:

five 110m wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140m, delivering 18MW

a 10,710-panel solar farm generating 4MW

a 13MW/4MWh battery energy storage system

off-grid 21MW gas/diesel engine power plant

advanced microgrid control system. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $13.5 million in funding to the  project as part of its Advancing Renewables Program, and was represented at the opening by  Shadow Minister for Planning; Lands; Heritage Neil Thomson.

Quote attributable to EDL Chief Executive Officer James Harman:

“It is great to be officially opening the groundbreaking Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project with  Gold Fields. The Project has showcased engineering excellence at every stage—from its ambitious inception, to its skilful design and innovative integration of five energy technologies,  to the complex construction and commissioning, including overcoming some major issues  during the project’s final stages, caused by the pandemic and bushfires.

“Credit must go to Gold Fields for its vision and belief that we would successfully deliver this  complex project; and credit must go also to the entire project team, including EDL and all our  contractors, who worked tirelessly to safely deliver the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project on  time and on budget.

“Since we completed the microgrid in May 2020, and pulled the switch, it has been powering  Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine with clean, reliable renewable energy. EDL’s hybrid renewable  journey has not stopped with this landmark project. As the energy transition continues at pace,  our ultimate goal is 100% renewables, and we look forward to continuing our work to make this  a reality.”

“Gold Fields is enormously proud to have the opportunity to officially mark the delivery of our  commitment to building a modern, sustainable hybrid renewable energy solution at the Agnew  gold mine,” says Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia Stuart Mathews.

“This project is a testament to what can be achieved by taking courageous decisions and  demonstrating true leadership in how we can sustainably energise our mines in remote  environments. This is important to all of our stakeholders, including our employees, who want  to see tangible outcomes in relation to our environmental, social and governance priorities and  sustainability vision. 

“With demonstrated success in construction and now operation, this project has provided a  framework to take innovative energy solutions further across Gold Fields’ mine sites both in  Australia and around the world.”

Minister Johnston says the partnership were recognised for their innovation and environmental excellence at Agnew winning this year’s prestigious Golden Gecko award.

“Congratulations to Gold Fields and EDL on the completion of their award-winning project. 

“I had the pleasure of visiting the completion of stage one of the project in 2019, when it was  Australia’s first mine site to combine wind and solar power generation. 

“The McGowan Government is supportive of mining and resources companies that are leading  by example and embracing renewable energy solutions. This all contributes to our target of net  zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

A leading global producer of sustainable distributed energy, EDL owns and operates a portfolio of almost  100 power stations in Australia, North America and Europe. From innovative renewable operations to  clean and remote energy expertise, EDL delivers solutions to a diverse range of customers the world  over.

About Gold Fields

Gold Fields is a globally diversified gold producer with nine operating mines in Australia, Peru, South  Africa and West Africa (including the Asanko JV), as well as one project in Chile. It has a total attributable  annual gold-equivalent production of 2.2Moz, attributable gold-equivalent Mineral Reserves of 51.3Moz  and Mineral Resources of 115.7Moz. Gold Fields’ shares are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange  (JSE) and its American depositary shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The Agnew gold mine is an underground operation located 23km west of the town of Leinster in the  northern Goldfields region of Western Australia. Gold Fields also owns and operates the St Ives and

Granny Smith mines in Western Australia. Gold Fields is also the manager and operator of the Gruyere  gold mine in Western Australia, which is a 50:50 joint venture with Gold Road Resources.

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