Corentin Gaunand, Saft’s Sales Director Energy Storage Systems Asia-Pacific, explains how Gold Fields and its independent power provider EDL have achieved renewable energy penetration of up to 85% under favourable weather conditions at the Agnew Gold mine in Western Australia. A key element is an energy storage system that forms part of a new hybrid power microgrid. The mine is the country’s first to integrate large-scale wind power.
Like many mining companies, Gold Fields is keen to decarbonise its operations by electrifying its equipment and engaging in the transition towards renewable energy. It is aiming to maximise clean energy as part of its electricity mix. This contrasts with most remote mine operations, which currently rely totally on fossil fuels.
However, with growing penetration of renewable energy – essentially from variable sources like wind and solar – sudden changes in output can lead to grid instability. Until recently, this has held the mining industry back from deploying renewables, but by integrating energy storage, it is now possible to operate microgrids with renewable energy at the same high reliability as diesel generators.