Signs that the Australian mining industry has hit an inflection point in the adoption on renewable energy, primarily solar PV and wind power, to supply operations continue to build. Pumped hydro at mining sites is also becoming increasingly attractive, utilising local resources such as existing mine pits. Furthermore, beyond standalone projects, partnerships are beginning to build, adding to the momentum of renewable adoption in Australia’s resource sector.
The latest sees Oz Minerals partner with Adelaide University, the CSIRO, the Department of Energy and Mining, Rocky Mountain Institute, SunSHIFT and the Tonsley Innoation Precinct to embark on its first EMC project, a 250 kW hybrid energy system at the company’s Carrapateena mine site in South Australia
The trial project, set for operation in the first half of 2020, consists of solar PV, wind, battery storage, a connection to existing diesel generation and a smart grid controller for data access and tracking.
However, this project is not viewed as a one-off. In fact, the EMC project is targeted at, according to Oz Minerals, “developing and identifying opportunities for an international showcase that optimises electrical and fuel demand and the integration of renewable systems. This will be done via the creation of true partnerships around the testing of energy and technology hypotheses to unlock transformation value in mining.”
Over the next six months other potential collaborators, from research and education institutions and government/non-governmental organisations to start-ups and business incubators, are invited to join the EMC with the aim of “establishing a novel collaboration model.”
Author: Blake Matich