Gold Fields to install massive hybrid solar facility at Granny Smith

Power facilities at Granny Smith. Image: Aggreko

South African miner Gold Fields has contracted Scottish power company Aggreko to create a hybrid solar and battery generation system to help power the Granny Smith gold mine near Laverton, Western Australia.

The system, which will be designed, built and operated by Aggreko, comprises a renewable microgrid made of over 20,000 solar panels collectively capable of generating up to eight megawatts of electricity, as well as a complementary two-megawatt battery system. The battery component will power services such as photovoltaic (PV) ramp rate control, transient voltage and frequency support, and spinning reserve displacement.

Aggreko is not new to the Granny Smith site. In 2016, it won a contract with Gold Fields to convert the site’s diesel power station to natural gas power.

The company’s gas engines, in combination with a thermal expansion announced last year, and the hybrid solar project, are expected to provide up to 24.2 megawatts of electricity to Granny Smith.

This electricity will be split between the project’s Wallaby underground mine (12.2 megawatts) and processing plant, camp and other facilities (12 megawatts).

Construction of the solar facility is expected to begin in May for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10–13 per cent— the equivalent of removing 2000 cars from the road — and produce about 18 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year,” said Aggreko AusPac managing director George Whyte.

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