APA Group Builds Hybrid Microgrid for Australian Mine

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APA Group intends to bring a hybrid microgrid online late this year at the Gruyere Gold Mine in Western Australia.

hybrid microgrid

By ParabolStudio/Shutterstock.com

The project will increase the installed capacity at the mine to 64 MW from 45 MW, according to APA, an energy infrastructure company based in Sydney, Australia.

In the project’s first phase, APA is adding a twelfth reciprocating natural gas-fired engine to serve the mine.

For the second phase, APA hired Juwi Renewable Energy to build a 13.6 MW solar farm for the hybrid microgrid.

APA is also adding a 4.4-MW/4.4-MWh battery energy storage system for the microgrid, which the company expects will cost about $28 million (US).

The microgrid will use a control system that combines cloud and weather forecasting, battery control and the existing reciprocating engine control systems to boost efficiency and maximize the use of renewable generation, according to APA.

Expected to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the mine’s power supply by 16,000 tons a year, or about 10%, the microgrid will also ease natural gas power generation capacity constraints at the mine. This includes the de-rating of engine performance when ambient temperatures are high, according to Juwi.

The Gruyere Gold Mine microgrid is APA’s first hybrid microgrid project, but the company sees energy storage and microgrids as key components to its growth plans.

“Customers are increasingly seeking integrated renewable solutions through innovation such as microgrids [e.g., gas, solar and battery storage],” the company said in a June 29 presentation.

Last year, Aggreko, an energy services company, installed a renewable microgrid at Australia’s Granny Smith Gold Mine for Gold Fields, the mine’s operator and one of the world’s largest gold miners.

Also, EDL last year completed a 56-MW microgrid project for Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine.

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