Energy and Mines

Case Studies

WA’s first grid-connected wind/solar farm with battery storage to power garnet producer

July 04
02:44 2017

Leading garnet producer GMA Garnet has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Advanced Energy Resources (AER), the partners announced at the Energy and Mines Australia Summit in Perth on Friday. The arrangement will see the construction of a 3 megawatt wind and solar farm with battery storage near the picturesque pink lakes of Port Gregory, located 60km south of Kalbarri.

The $8 million project will initially supply nearly 70% of the mine’s electricity requirements, and facilitate GMA Garnet’s transition to 100% renewable energy. The mining company will reduce its carbon footprint by roughly 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

“Price certainty is an important consideration for our business, which sells high-quality garnet to an international market,” GMA Garnet Chief Financial Officer Grant Cox said. “AER’s experience and established track record in the renewable energy sector has given us comfort that AER’s wind and solar farm will be a truly practical way of reducing our input costs while also hedging against the ever increasing cost of electricity.”

The project’s wind turbines have already arrived in Perth, and project approvals are currently underway. Commissioning is expected to occur early in 2019. The project will use Enercon wind turbines and an innovative connection topology that includes battery storage.

Located 120km from the nearest substation and at the fringe of the network, the mine is supplied by highly-constrained electricity distribution infrastructure that is prone to frequent faults. AER’s 2.8 Megawatt (peak output) battery inverter will smooth output during times of variable wind and cloudy weather, while providing uninterrupted electricity supply to the mine during network outages. The battery will be designed to provide on-demand network support in the future.

“We are proud to be partnering with GMA Garnet in this groundbreaking project, which will credibly display how AER can reduce costs for large energy users, while providing tangible benefits to regional electricity networks and fringe of grid areas,” AER Managing Director Luca Castelli states. “We have proven through past projects that embedded renewable energy generation is cheaper than traditional fossil fuelled generation, and will play a key role in reducing both electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions for WA industry.”

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Kate Dougherty

Kate Dougherty