42 MW of big batteries come online to support Fortescue’s Pilbara operations


Hybrid Systems Australia (HSA), a subsidiary of Pacific Energy, has completed the commissioning of two battery systems for Fortescue’s iron-ore mining operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The total 42 MW battery systems will supply power to Fortescue’s new Iron Bridge operations, and will eventually store energy from a planned 150 MW solar farm to be built nearby.  

As it stands, the battery systems are intended to ensure network stability, with HSA saying “the batteries’ primary role is for grid stability and support, providing spinning reserve backup to any gas generation outages or sudden changes in the solar output.”

The battery systems are among the largest installed at a network-connected mining site.

Mike Hall, Executive Director of Hybrid Systems Australia, said the project represented one of the largest and most technologically advanced BESS projects the company had undertaken. HSA partnered with Hitachi Energy and Kokam on the project.

The decarbonisation of mining operations has become a major theme, primarily in Western Australia and Queensland where most of Australia’s mining operations are located.

Mining companies like Fortescue are increasingly turning to renewable technologies to power their operations, which are usually in remote and regional areas. 

Australian modular solar manufacturer 5B recently announced its technology would be used in a 95 MW hybrid power plant featuring solar, wind and battery energy storage at the Liontown Resources’ Kathleen Valley Lithium Project being developed in the Goldfields region of WA.

The uptake of batteries and solar for mining applications is turning out to be a major driver for Australia’s domestic renewables industry, with miners increasingly turning to renewables to supply cheaper, cleaner power that also boosts the extractive industries’ ESG credentials. 

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