Strategic partnership to bring microgrids to the mines

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Siemens and juwi are looking to roll-out and develop advanced microgrid systems that enable seamless integration of power from a renewable source like solar PV to a mine’s off-grid power supply.

“Microgrids can bring high levels of reliability and improved energy quality to energy-intensive industries such as mining; and are an attractive alternative when autonomous power supply is needed,” said Robert Klaffus, CEO Digital Grid at Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

Both partners bring something to the table. For Siemens it’s the Sicam based microgrid control platform, and for juwi it’s the Hybrid IQ microgrid controller. Together the advanced microgrid is able to adapt to changing ore bodies, process and power requirements whilst providing detailed reporting and analysis. The result should hopefully streamline and standardise the integration of renewables in the mining industry.

Of course, though it has a long way to go, the mining industry is already well on the way in its own energy transition. A recent report by the World Gold Council highlights the huge potential for savings for mines which move to renewables and outlines the way forward. “There is a clear business case,” said the report, “for the rapid replacement of diesel power with renewables.” The diesel power used in the extraction and transport of mining produce is the highest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Stephan Hansen, COO of the juwi Group noted the very same thing in the partnership announcement: “Renewable energy will not only future proof mining operations, but reduce cash operating costs today.”

The duo of Siemens and juwi has already brought results after successfully delivering a solar power plant at to the Agnew Gold Mine in Western Australia. The Agnew Gold Mine has installed a solar (4 MW), wind (18 MW), battery (13 MW/4 MWh) and gas (16 MW) microgrid with the support of $13.5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The micro-grid can provide up to 54% of the mine’s electricity needs, abating some 40,000 tones of CO2 annually.