Calidus Resources’ new hybrid power plant is to delivered by remote power generation specialist Zenith Energy and will include 4 MW DC solar farm with a 3 MW/3 MWh AC battery storage system. The hybrid plant’s power will, however, primarily be provided by a 11 MW natural gas component.
According to Calidus’s Managing Director, Dave Reeves, these gas-fired generators will be able to use up to 25% hydrogen, which – if green hydrogen were used – would further reduce the mining operation’s emissions, though little information has been given about this component of the project.
The combined 19 MW power station will be installed at Calidus’ Warrawoona mine site near Marble Bar in the Pilbara region with construction due to commence on the project in the second half of the year.
Zenith Energy will supply, install and commission the hybrid system for Calidus, entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the company. “The construction of the solar farm is part of the PPA whereby Calidus purchases power from Zenith,” Calidus’ Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) announcement on the news said.
Last year, Australian miner Northern Star Resources partnered with independent power provider Nomadic Energy to more than triple the capacity of the solar farm at its Carosue Dam gold mining operation near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, adding a 3.3 MW re-deployable array to the existing 1 MW system. Major miners like BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue have also installed solar farms to power a number of their Australian operations.
Such systems are growing in popularity as mining sector in Australia tries to decarbonise. A study conducted by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources in 2020 found the mining industry is responsible for 4% to 7% of greenhouse-gas emissions globally.
Both companies, Zenith and Calidus, used images of a relocatable solar farm from 5B in their announcements. Though there is no specific mention of partnering with the popular company on the project, it may be an indication of their ambitions since the 5B Maverick solar array solution has been favoured for similar projects.
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