The Hybrid power generation for Australian off-grid mines handbook was developed by Ekistica (on behalf of ARENA) to address both the real and perceived barriers faced by mines looking to adopt a new way to power their work.
Australia has more than 400 operating mines, of which approximately 65 per cent meet their electricity needs from the primary electricity markets: the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
The NEM supplies electricity to the majority of mines in the eastern states as well as around half the mines in South Australia, while the SWIS powers around a third of Western Australian mines. It is estimated that approximately half the mines not powered by the primary electricity markets have their power supplied by Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
The development of this handbook was driven by an observed lack of easily accessible information about the initial considerations required to develop business cases for hybrid power generation, as well as an equal lack of literature demonstrating its potential to produce economical, reliable power for Australian mines. The handbook forms part of a broader effort by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to build the mining sector’s capacity to more readily work with renewable energy and capture savings from lower operating costs.