Aggreko has signed a contract with Gold Fields to provide a total of 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution to the Salares Norte open pit mine in Chile. This ground-breaking solution has been designed to provide power for the entire mine, which sits at an altitude of 4,500m in the Andes mountain range and is 190km from the nearest town.
The hybrid system will comprise both tailor-made high-altitude performance diesel gensets and Aggreko Solar Power units, optimized for off-grid applications and ready to meet the extreme wind conditions these units will experience. The gensets will each deliver 772kW and will incorporate Spinning Reserve and Cold Reserve units to efficiently manage peaks in demand. This diesel generation system will be integrated with solar units, which, once installed, will provide 9.9MW of cost and emission free power. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Energy Harvesting Microwatt to Gigawatt: Opportunities 2020-2040.
The system will deliver a reliable, modular power supply across all five of the mine's distribution points, whilst surpassing the Chilean government's environmental standards as well as Gold Fields' requirement for a minimum of 20% renewable power generation for mining operations.
Once complete, it will achieve $7.4m in cost of energy savings over the next decade and a further $1.1m in carbon tax offset over the Aggreko project lifetime in addition to 104,000 tonnes of carbon emissions savings. The modular rental solution also supports a consolidated CAPEX outlay, allowing for greater cost control and variable commitments whilst ensuring continued operational excellence at the mine.
The deployment of this hybrid solution follows Aggreko's recent launch of Aggreko Solar Power, which will be deployed to provide power at the site. This market-leading solution is optimised for weak or off-grid energy applications, providing clean and efficient power supply to a range of operations without long-term financial commitments.
Commenting on the news, Pablo Varela, Latin America Managing Director from Aggreko said: "As the energy transition continues to gather pace, our customers are increasingly looking for more flexible power solutions which can reliably support operations whilst reducing carbon emissions and lowering costs. Hybrid products, such as the one we are deploying for Salares Norte, enable a reliable and flexible power supply whilst reducing carbon emissions, thanks to the incorporation of Aggreko Solar Power units as part of the system. Having a standardised product such as this provides the kind of consistency and reliability which our customers have come to expect from us."
The 10-year contract between Aggreko and Gold Fields for power generation at the mine follows a history of successful collaborations globally, such as the recent installation of one of the world's largest renewable microgrids at Gold Fields' Granny Smith mine in Western Australia. At full capacity, Salares Norte will produce an average of 450,000oz of gold per year with Aggreko as the sole power provider.
Source and top image: Headland Consultancy