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juwi starts building world's largest solar-diesel power plant for mining
by Staff Writers
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jul 16, 2015

File image.

A 10.6MW solar plus 6MW battery facility will be built at the off-grid DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine, owned by Australian mining company Sandfire Resources. The juwi developed project is financed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (debt) and Neoen (equity) with funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

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.

Commenting on the project, juwi-COO Stephan Hansen says: "We are delighted to be able to deliver this 10.6MW off-Grid project for Sandfire and assist them in reducing their operational costs. We see great potential in utility-scale solar hybrid systems, as the generation costs with diesel power plants will continually rise. In contrast to this, electricity production with solar plants already represents an economically viable solution for many energy intensive corporations in the mining, agricultural or tourism industry."

The proposed 10.6 MW solar PV System will comprise 34,080 solar panels constructed on over 20 hectares of land near the site of the current underground mine, located 900 kilometres north of Perth in Western Australia. This will make DeGrussa the largest integrated off-grid solar power systems to be used in the mining industry anywhere in the world.

The integrated system will be designed with the diesel power station continuing to provide base-load power to the mine with sufficient minimum load to ensure it can respond quickly to meet the power requirements of the process plant and underground mine. Besides the expected 20 per cent savings in the consumption of diesel fuel, the project significantly reduces the mine's CO2 emissions by over 12,000 tonnes a year.

For juwi, the DeGrussa project will be the first major project in Australia. In 2014, juwi acquired a majority stake in Brisbane based Qi Power Limited - a company with experience in the Australian mining and power industry.

Amiram Roth-Deblon, juwi's Regional Director for Asia Pacific, states: "The Sandfire project shows that it is economically viable to use solar power in combination with battery storage on a large scale. From a technical perspective, the project demonstrates that even a mine in the Australian outback can be safely and reliably supplied with solar power.

The system has been designed to provide the majority of Sandfire's daytime electricity through an innovative control system. This opens up completely new perspectives." Especially for industrial clients or the mining industry that depend on grid stability and a seamless and safe system integration - but also for grid-connected customers - the project is an economically viable alternative.

Amiram Roth-Deblon: "Our integrated solutions offers grid operators the possibility to place greater amounts of clean, renewable electricity into their grids. This is especially interesting for those regions in the world in which a lack of grid capacity reduces the potential for further growth."

Andrew Drager, Managing Director of juwi Australia, said: "We are excited to work with Sandfire Resources to supply 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."

Drager continues: "juwi will perform all Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the project. Onsite assembly will be 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."

"juwi will build and operate the 10.6MW solar plus 6MW battery facility allowing Sandfire to remain focused on their core business of developing and operating high-quality resource assets. We look forward to implementing this world-class renewable energy system for a world-class mining company."

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