Pacific flicks switch on 6 MW solar farm as hybrid plant powers up

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Pacific Energy has delivered a hybrid power station incorporating a 6 MW solar array fitted with 11,088 PV panels, a 2.4 MW battery energy storage system, and a 9.5 MW gas-fuelled power plant at Westgold’s Tuckabianna mine site near Cue in Western Australia’s remote mid-west.

Jamie Cullen, chief executive officer of Perth-based Pacific Energy, said the new 17.9 MW Tuckabianna power plant replaces the existing diesel-fired power station and is the first of four new hybrid facilities being developed for Westgold.

“Tuckabianna is part of a larger project to consolidate six existing power stations into four high-efficiency hybrid power stations that incorporate gas, solar and battery storage systems,” he said.

“Collectively this represents one of the largest fully integrated hybrid power systems in the Australian mining sector.”

The other three power facilities at Westgold’s Bluebird, Fortnum, and Big Bell mining sites are scheduled to be installed and operational by the third quarter of 2024.

The Tuckabianna power plant includes a 6 MW solar farm.

Image: Pacific Energy

With a combined capacity of 82 MW, including nearly 30 MW of solar and 11.4 MW of battery storage, the new facilities are expected to collectively save 38 million litres of diesel per annum and lower annual carbon emissions by about 57,000 tonnes.

Westgold Managing Director Wayne Bramwell said the new power plants, which he expects will drive down operating costs, are at the heart of the company’s clean energy transition initiative.

“This new hybrid power facility at Tuckabianna incorporates renewable energy and is a great first step along this journey, with power generated from these facilities energising our mines and processing hubs for decades to come,” he said.

The solar farms, battery storage and gas-fired power stations will be owned and operated by Pacific Energy under an electricity purchase agreement. The gas will be provided by Clean Energy Fuels Australia (CEFA) under an supply agreement.

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