01.12.2015 / Press, Solar, APAC
Low cost renewable energy is competitive with traditional fossil fuels in many off-grid and mining applications globally. For Sandfire Resources NL, a mid-tier Australian mining company, the juwi Group developed a 10.6MW solar hybrid system to fully integrate with the existing 19MW diesel-fired power station at the DeGrussa Mine. Single axis tracking and a 6MW battery will be used to maximise the use of lower cost solar power to provide the majority of daytime electricity while reducing the mine’s total diesel consumption by over 20 per cent. The flagship project will be commissioning in early 2016.
juwi is pleased to advise that construction of the new 10.6MW solar power station at the DeGrussa Copper Mine in Western Australia has reached a key milestone with installation of the first solar photovoltaic (PV) panels now underway.
The innovative $40 million project – which is one of the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facilities – will consist of 34,080 solar PV panels covering a total area of over 20 hectares at a site located immediately adjacent to the DeGrussa underground mine and processing plant.
Construction commenced in mid-July with clearing and levelling of the site and subsequent installation of 4700 steel posts in diagonal arrays to mount the solar PV panels on a single-axis tracking system. This system allows the panels to track the sun during the day, improving its overall performance.
Site electrical work is also well advanced with the installation of underground electrical infrastructure including conduits ready for low-voltage and communication cabling to allow the interconnection of the panels, and to connect the facility to the 6MW lithium-ion battery storage facility and the existing 19MW diesel-fired power station at DeGrussa.
Installation of the solar PV modules is anticipated to be completed early in the New Year with other items to be installed in the coming months including the solar inverter to change the electric current from DC to AC, transformers and other electrical accessories and control systems.
Bench-scale test-work is also well underway as part of an ongoing work program to seamlessly integrate the new solar power facility, the battery storage facility and the diesel-fired power station.
The system has been designed with the diesel-fired power station continuing to provide base-load power to the DeGrussa mine with sufficient minimum load to ensure it can respond quickly to meet the power requirements of the process plant and underground mine.
The overall construction schedule for the DeGrussa Solar Power Project is on track for delivery of first electricity from the facility during Q1 of CY 2016.
juwi will perform all Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the project. Onsite surveying and installation has been undertaken in conjunction with Perth based contractor OTOC Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $20.9m funding support, which will begin to be repaid if the mine continues beyond the initial 6 year term. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the French IPP Neoen are providing the remainder of the project funds.
The innovative project is expected to set a new benchmark for the use of renewable energy at remote mine sites in the resource sector, reducing diesel consumption and cutting carbon emissions at DeGrussa by more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 annually at DeGrussa.
juwi Australia’s Managing Director, Mr Andrew Drager, said “now that we are half way through construction, it is a good time to reflect on the many achievements to date. Most importantly we have done so without personal injury which sets the standard for the safe and efficient installation of future renewable energy projects in the mining sector.”
“I congratulate the team on the many key milestones, which have all been achieved in a very remote and harsh environment. We appreciative the great support received from Sandfire and the other project proponents which have been the key to the project success.”
“We are excited about supplying Sandfire Resources with low-cost renewable energy to the DeGrussa Mine. The system is at the forefront of transforming the remote power generation sector and the resource industry into one with a sustainable future.