Storage solutions are dramatically changing the resource sector’s energy landscape by allowing solar and wind to provide 24/7 energy supply to remote mines.
Currently, mines are implementing storage technologies either in combination with renewables to solve intermittency issues or with diesel generators to save on fuel costs. Off-grid mines, which usually have at least 30% of their production coming from diesel, have been the first to embrace these technologies, states Richard Boudreault, Executive Chairman at Sigma Energy. “Economical and ecological energy storage is critical for mines that are off-grid and are integrating intermittent power use into their production,” Boudreault notes.
Operational examples of storage for mines demonstrate that the technology can function in different, extreme environments — from the cold Canadian Arctic to the arid Australian Outback. Specifically, Glencore’s Raglan mine has successfully integrated 0.65 MW of energy storage with its 3 MW wind project in Northern Quebec and, in Western Australia, the DeGrussa copper-gold mine, owned by Sandfire Resources, has included 6 MW of storage with its 10.6 MW solar farm.
The cost-saving benefits for mines are very clear and can vary between 20% to 70% in the form of fuel reduction, reports Bill Sproull, Vice President of Business Development & Sales at ESS.