Publication - Optimizing Costs of Renewable Energy for the Mining Industry

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Optimizing Costs of Renewable Energy for the Mining Industry
Volatile & THEnergy
Thomas Hillig
Published in
February 2019
Mines are operating in a very cost competitive environment. After labor, energy is typically the second most important operating cost factor. It is no surprise that more and more mining companies around the world are adopting renewable energy to power their mines.

In general, adding renewables addresses three issues that are of interest to mine operations:

1) Cost savings 2) Reliability of power supply 3) Sustainability

Cost savings are now often possible because the costs for renewables have decreased considerably over the past years. This is valid for both wind and solar power.

Solar and wind are cheap but are also intermittent sources of energy. Combined with traditional generators and managed by intelligent systems, they significantly decrease the price of energy of on-site power generation systems while improving its overall reliability. Sophisticated engineering comes with systems that integrate onsite renewables and traditional diesel, heavy fuel oil (HFO) and gas gensets. Optionally, they can also add energy storage and power from the grid. In fact, these hybrid micro-grids are more reliable than the current grids in many mining countries.