DeGrussa solar project

Slideshow

  • Degrussa - solar aerial view

  • The first of 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels

  • Degrussa - undergound 1

  • Degrussa - underground 2

  • Degrussa - above ground

  • Sandfire sign

The project involves the construction of a 10.6 MW solar PV installation with storage at the DeGrussa Copper Mine. Solar will provide the majority of the mine’s daytime electricity requirements, offsetting more than 20% of total diesel consumption. The project aims to increase knowledge and confidence in the use of renewable energy to power off-grid mine sites.

Lead organisation:
Neoen
Project partners:
Sandfire Resources NL , Clean Energy Finance Corporation , OTOC Australia
Location:
Meekathara, WA
Technology:
Solar energy
ARENA program:
Regional Australia's Renewables – Industry Program
Start date:
July 2015

Need

Remote industries in Australia currently rely on 1.2 GW of power from diesel fuel that is prone to price volatility and supply interruptions.

Renewables offer a reliable alternative to trucked-in diesel in off-grid applications. However, renewable energy mining projects face a number of early-mover costs and barriers due to the small number of projects globally to draw knowledge, experience and confidence from.

Project innovation

The solar PV installation will be integrated into the existing 19 MW diesel generator facility to provide power to the mine under a 6 year power purchase agreement.

DeGrussa mine is owned by Sandfire Resources NL. Renewable energy firm juwi will build and operate the plant, which will be owned by the French renewable energy firm Neoen. Onsite assembly will be undertaken in conjunction with Perth based contractor OTOC Australia.

Single axis tracking and lithium ion battery storage are planned to allow more renewables to be used. Solar will offset approximately 5 million litres of diesel fuel per annum, which is more than 20% of total diesel consumption.

A detailed knowledge sharing plan has been developed to share operational data and information about the risks, diesel savings achieved and strategies to enable higher penetrations of renewables.

Benefit

The project is intended to be a world leading example that increases confidence and drives further advancements in the use of renewable energy at mine sites. The project’s knowledge sharing plan aims to:

  • release operational performance data summaries to assist mining companies evaluate the risks of high penetration renewable energy integration into diesel power plants
  • illustrate the potential diesel and cost savings achievable by renewable energy in a mining setting
  • analyse the cost curve and key events that could enable high penetration solar PV opportunities to be economically deployed in Australia without subsidies.

This will help drive down first-of-a-kind costs and change perceptions about the risks associated with high penetration and critical load off-grid projects.

More information

Contact information

Chris Leonard, International Development Manager, Neoen
Phone:
+61 2 9269 0170
Email:
chris.leonard@neoen.com