Remote power specialist Pacific Energy has added to its environmental capabilities through an alliance with juwi Renewable Energy, a German world leading renewable energy company. The alliance is focusing on off-grid mining projects that integrate solar and battery power with diesel or gas fueled power.
The alliance follows on from the two companies’ recent co-operation on what is claimed to be Australia’s largest hybrid off-grid solar and battery storage power facility and one of the largest in the world.
juwi assisted with the engineering and construction of the $40 million DeGrussa Solar Power Project built by long time Pacific Energy client Sandfire Resources. The project integrated a 10 MW solar facility with Pacific Energy’s existing 19 MW diesel power station. The new facility covers 20 hectares and includes 6 MW of lithium-ion battery storage.
Pacific Energy’s managing director, James Cullen, said his company’s role in the project included integrating the control systems that govern the solar/ battery/ diesel integration; upgrading and modifying high voltage switchgear; developing the operating protocols for governing the interface between the solar/ battery and diesel facilities; assistance with commissioning; and advice. The control systems can manage load swings and maintain uninterrupted power supply.
The new plant is expected to reduce annual diesel consumption and cut carbon emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – a reduction of more than 15 per cent based on Sandfire’s 2015-16 emissions.
DeGrussa is a remote WA copper and gold mine. Mr Cullen said the high level of interest in the project should see other mining companies consider building similar facilities.
The alliance with juwi will help this along.
Mr Cullen said "The partnership with juwi provides us with immediate solar and battery storage capabilities for existing and new customers seeking integrated renewable power solutions. The experience and expertise of juwi provides us with the opportunity to leap ahead in the delivery of off-grid hybrid power to the market."
juwi Australia’s managing director, Andrew Drager said he was extremely pleased with the formal alliance. “For over nine months we have been working together on the DeGrussa project and formed an excellent working relationship. We look forward to working on future projects together as the mining industry ventures further into hybrid power generation."
This is the key to the alliance and it will be interesting to see how many future projects it can win. There are more than enough remote mining operations for the hybrid system to add revenue if it takes off. And the mining industry can always do with more green brownie points.
Pacific Energy has also expanded into Africa where it has incorporated a subsidiary, KPS Power Africa Pty Ltd. Based in Johannesburg in South Africa, KPS Africa will focus on remote power opportunities on the continent.
The potential market includes 190 ASX listed mining companies with nearly 600 projects in 38 African countries. Many more are owned by Canadian, South African and multinational companies.
Mr Cullen said "Power generation in the mining industry in Africa is similar to that in much of Australia, with a great many mines not having access to grid power due to their remote locations, and those that are connected to the grid often do not have reliability. We believe that our build/ own/ operate model with built in fuel efficiency guarantees will provide an attractive offering to the market."
In promising early news for the alliance with juwi, one opportunity already under discussion is where the customer is interested in a hybrid solution for their new mining operation.
Mr Cullen said the company will report excellent results for 2015-16 and recently completed projects will add to earnings in 2016-17 and should make it a record year.
This would explain why Pacific Energy’s share price has had a strong run since its three year low of 36 cents in mid March and touched a year high of 51 cents in mid July. (ASX: PEA)