World’s leading power supplier helps miners with emission targets

Image: Aggreko.

Aggreko, the world’s leader in mobile, modular power, has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and is partnering with the world’s biggest miners to use greener energy like solar, wind and natural gas.

The company has vowed to invest $450 to $600 million each year to support its energy transition, including big spends in what it sees as a major growth area for its business: mining.

Aggreko Australia Pacific managing director George Whyte said environmental responsibility and new technology are changing the way electricity is generated, distributed, consumed, stored, and monitored.

Whyte said the company had already invested heavily in the sector in the past three years as miners requested alternatives to fossil diesel.

“Miners have the great challenge of reducing their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, as well as their own commitments to net-zero emission targets by 2030 and 2050,” Whyte said.

Power generation for our customers has become more complex, and Aggreko has a responsibility to create power that is healthier for the world’s wellbeing.

Miners – and increasingly those with unreliable or no access to grid power – are partnering with Aggreko to provide hybrid power solutions on site, which might include an energy mix of diesel, gas, solar, wind and battery storage.

Power can be switched to another source and scaled up or down, depending on the renewable power available and the operation’s daily requirements.

“I believe that in the future we will see more miners partnering with power providers who are able to provide highly efficient, but also low-carbon solutions like Aggreko,” Whyte said.

It is a de-risking strategy for miners, helping them to reduce their capital costs, while lowering their emissions. Instead of miners having to specialise in power solutions, Aggreko invests in the capital, remotely monitors it, and provides the maintenance and all of the technological upgrades along the way.

“They don’t then have the fear that power capital they invest in will be obsolete in five years’ time,” Whyte said.

Whyte said global economic growth was driving the mining sector’s growth.

“Just 30 years from now – in 2050 – increasing electrification and the growing world population means global electricity demand is expected to rise by 70 per cent,” he said.

“This means the need for flexible, reliable and integrated solutions with lower carbon and local emissions has never been greater, and our market for temporary, distributed energy is growing.”

Of the 80 countries in which Aggreko has a large presence, most of the hybrid power solutions it is delivering to mining sites are located across Australia, Africa, North America, Canada, Latin America, Africa, and South East Asia.

Aggreko’s global head of mining Rob Saffy said while the mining industry is looking for economic, reliable, and available alternatives to fossil diesel, it would be a phased approach.

“Miners are interested in hybrid projects that utilise solar and battery storage and are looking to us to become their independent power provider for the life of their projects,” Saffy said

Currently, internal combustion engines (ICE) running diesel and natural gas are the baseline for temporary power generation. A trend towards natural gas means more virtual pipelines are being utilised where gas – both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) – is trucked from a pipeline take-off point to the mine site, where distances are less than 1000 kilometres.

Hydrogen as a fuel source also plays an important role in Aggreko’s future decarbonisation strategy; particularly green hydrogen, where electrolysis is powered by renewable energy.

“We are currently investing in pilot projects to understand its potential and limitations as a fuel for our customers,” Saffy said.

“We are also exploring how we can integrate green hydrogen into our fleet, and how we can combine it with renewables and battery storage to build efficient and resilient hybrid systems, which simultaneously help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.