Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) helping remote miners with hybrid energy

the mining industry, although a little shy about risking the money on such brave new projects, is one of the best places for ARENA to make investments, to offset those risks and help industry to find the confidence to get involved in experimenting with renewable energy sources that, in the long run, will deliver lower operating costs for everything from small exploration camps, right up to production level power generation

Hybrid power meeting the challenges for a renewable mining future, Australian Mining, 17 March, 2014 Ben Hagemann Miners are finally starting to look at ways to get their power generation off the grid with renewable energy sources.

Although the technology is burgeoning, the way of the future lies with hybrid power generators……….In remote locations where there’s little to no access to grid power, which means most Australian resource sites, the problem of power generation needs in mining camps, construction projects, exploration crews, and telecommunications is usually dealt with by traditional diesel fired generators.

Large, standalone diesel gensets can run 24/7, and are the most common option given that they are easily installed and need virtually no infrastructure, not even a foundation pad, meaning low up-front capital expenditure. Portability is also a major factor for easy mobilisation in construction or exploration.

However, they require large supplies of diesel, daily refuelling, and regular maintenance and servicing. They’re also noisy and harmful to the environment, meaning CO2 emissions, as well as the additional cost of the carbon tax.

All of these downsides mean that diesel genset running costs actually become pretty expensive in the long run.

With the growing focus on reducing operational expenditures (OPEX) and being more environmentally responsible, operators have started turning to more cost-effective and clean alternative energy solutions.

Thanks to modern tech developments, there are a number of options, but operators always face the inevitable trade-offs………

Hybrid power generation

Hybrid power generators are the new “fourth estate” in remote location, off-grid power generation.

Exclusively, this is a combination of two or more energy sources coupled with a large battery bank connected to the DC power system.

When available, a hybrid system can run on solar or wind, run a site, and charge the batteries, but if renewables aren’t available, the site can be configured to function much like a CDC gen-set. This reduces operating expense by charging the batteries with any excess power harvested from renewable sources. In doing so there is less need to use the gen-set for battery charging. The only major downside to a hybrid solution is the large initial CAPEX outlay.

Leading the Charge

Started up in July 2012, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is a government body dedicated to stimulating growth in the renewables sector, to make renewable energy solutions more affordable, and increase the amount of renewable energy around Australia.

Taking expressions of interest for renewable energy production grants last year, ARENA is now assessing projects for their viability, and the mining sector in Australia has shown a lot of interest with 30 separate applications for funding renewable projects…….

the mining industry, although a little shy about risking the money on such brave new projects, is one of the best places for ARENA to make investments, to offset those risks and help industry to find the confidence to get involved in experimenting with renewable energy sources that, in the long run, will deliver lower operating costs for everything from small exploration camps, right up to production level power generation. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/features/hybrid-power-meeting-the-challenges-for-a-renewabl

March 18, 2014 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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