Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid opens

Aerial shot of the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid (largest hybrid microgrid)
Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid (Image: EDL)

Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid, is now officially up and running.

Constructed, owned and operated by global energy producer EDL, the 56MW microgrid powers Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine with an average of 50–60 per cent renewable energy, even achieving up to 85 per cent in favourable weather conditions.

It is currently Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid, and the first in the country to power a mine predominantly with wind- generated electricity.

Related article: AGL microgrid helping Santos decarbonise

The Agnew microgrid integrates five energy technologies to deliver high penetration renewable energy with 99.99 per cent reliability, a non-negotiable requirement when powering the intense industrial load demanded by mining operations:

•    five 110m wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140m, delivering 18MW

•    a 10,710-panel solar farm generating 4MW

•    a 13MW/4MWh battery energy storage system

•    off-grid 21MW gas/diesel engine power plant

•    advanced microgrid control system.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $13.5 million in funding to the project as part of its Advancing Renewables Program, and was represented at the opening by Shadow Minister for Planning; Lands; Heritage Neil Thomson.

“It is great to be officially opening the groundbreaking Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project with Gold Fields. The Project has showcased engineering excellence at every stage—from its ambitious inception, to its skilful design and innovative integration of five energy technologies, to the complex construction and commissioning, including overcoming some major issues during the project’s final stages, caused by the pandemic and bushfires,” EDL chief executive James Harman said.

Related article: ARENA launches $50m Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program

“Credit must go to Gold Fields for its vision and belief that we would successfully deliver this complex project; and credit must go also to the entire project team, including EDL and all our contractors, who worked tirelessly to safely deliver the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project on time and on budget.

“Since we completed the microgrid in May 2020, and pulled the switch, it has been powering Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine with clean, reliable renewable energy. EDL’s hybrid renewable journey has not stopped with this landmark project. As the energy transition continues at pace, our ultimate goal is 100 per cent renewables, and we look forward to continuing our work to make this a reality.”

Previous articleCybersecurity in energy ‘more than just tech’
Next articleWoodside, bp and MIMI to study CCS in WA