Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine near Leinster is leading the charge for renewable energy, with the South-African based miner claiming bragging rights for Australia’s biggest hybrid renewable microgrid.
The first stage of the $112 million project has fired up, with State Mines Minister Bill Johnston yesterday officially opening the 23MW power station.
The result of a partnership between Gold Fields and energy group EDL, the power station integrates photovoltaic solar with gas and diesel generation to power the Agnew gold mine.
Goldfields executive vice-president Australasia Stuart Mathews said he hoped the project would prompt other miners to follow suit.
“This is a significant milestone for both the Agnew gold mine and the broader Gold Fields Group, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to strengthening our energy security, optimising energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint through the adoption of new technologies,” he said.
“We are hopeful that this will also enable other companies to consider the options for decarbonising their operations.”
The second stage of the project, which includes 18MW wind generation, a 13MW battery and an advanced micro-grid control system, is expected be completed by about June.
Once finished, the project will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW with renewables providing more than 50 per cent of Agnew’s power requirements.
There will also be potential to increase output through dynamic load shedding, renewables forecasting and load control management. The project has the backing of the Federal Government, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency throwing in a $13.5 million recoupable contribution to construction costs.
EDL chief executive James Harman said the business was proud to partner with Gold Fields on the landmark project.
“With this project, EDL and Gold Fields are leading the way towards clean, renewable energy to power remote, off-grid mining operations without compromising reliability or power quality,” he said.
“The power station we are officially opening (yesterday) integrates 4MW solar generation from our new solar farm and is underpinned by 19MW of gas and diesel generation.
“It will soon include other renewable energy technologies coming online in the next stage of the project.”
Mr Johnston congratulated EDL and Gold Fields for their collaborative work in completing the first stage of the project.
“This innovative, Australia-first project is setting the standard for mine sites throughout Western Australia,” he said.