Aggreko signs contract with Gold Fields Australia to deploy one of the world’s largest solar-plus-batteries-plus-thermal-generation off-grid microgrids


Aggreko, the leader in mobile and modular power solutions, has signed a contract with mining firm Gold Fields Australia (Gold Fields) to design, build and operate a hybrid renewable-energy-plus-battery-storage system at the Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia. The system, one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids, will comprise 8 MWp of solar power generation, as well as a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, integrated with 24.2 MW of existing natural-gas generation. Construction is expected to begin in May and be completed by year-end.

The Aggreko-provided solar, thermal and battery storage assets will be seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggreko’s control software platform – maintaining full system availability and optimising the lifetime of existing thermal assets. The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10-13% – the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road – and produce about 18 GWh of clean energy per year.

While the solar PV will reduce the need to run thermal generators, the battery plant will provide essential services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support. The project will be covered under a single as-a-service rental contract with no capital outlay from Gold Fields, eliminating technology risk, increasing flexibility, and ensuring performance accountability.

Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said the renewable energy microgrid is part of Gold Fields’ vision of leadership in sustainable gold mining. “We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy, which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations,” Mathews said.

“Gold Fields understand the performance, cost and environmental advantages for their operation, as well as the need to integrate this resource into their current system without compromising power supply reliability or mining productivity. The mobile and modular battery storage systems we’ve developed are quick to deploy and will be the ideal solution for this customer,” said George Whyte, Managing Director of Aggreko AusPac.

“We are on the industry forefront in offering a range of microgrid configurations on an as-a-service basis for users who want to leverage the benefits of a hybrid energy solution while minimising capital outlay. The Granny Smith power station is a flagship example of what can be done with advanced technologies, intelligent engineering, and a committed, innovation-minded customer,” said Karim Wazni, Managing Director of Aggreko’s Microgrid and Storage Solutions business unit.

Gold Fields currently operates all three of its Western Australian gold mines from gas-powered generating systems. The Granny Smith power station was designed and installed by Aggreko in 2016. The new hybrid power system, combined with a thermal station expansion at Granny Smith mine, will meet the increased daily power needs of the entire mine of 24.2 MW, with 12.2 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12 MW for the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp.