Wind turbines could come to mining sites this year

Wind turbines could come to mining sites this year

Engineering giant Siemens and Japan’s biggest wind farm operator are in talks to build a $300 million wind-and-diesel power station at a currently undisclosed location.

Siemens has formed a joint venture with Japan’s Eurus Energy and Danish technology company Danvest to look at building and operating hybrid power stations on mine sites to provide a cheaper, cleaner option to diesel at remote sites.

Head of wind power proposals a Siemens Andrew Riggs said the group had been in talks with one miner for 12 months and that a deal to start a power station was being targeted for this year.

“The miners now have a real sharp cost focus due to external factors over the past 12 months, so now when you walk in the door with a cost-saving idea, as opposed to a volume increase, you’re getting attention,” Mr Riggs told The Australian.

The first deal could see a plant, including a transmission line and other items that could deliver 30MW of power signed off. It would be built with either the miner owning the plant or Eurus keeping ownership after constructing it.

To prove the advantages of the technology, which Siemens says is developed enough to make wind power viable at most mine sites, Eurus will fund the installation of testing masts at prospective client sites to get a year’s wind data to build a business case.

“We’ve worked on the financial modelling of these plants for a couple of years and we’re confident they stand up (without subsidies),” said Siemens head of Australian renewables David Pryke, as reported by The Australian.

The hybrid power plants can run on wind power about 60 per cent of the time, meaning there is the potential to cut diesel use, and associated transport costs, by 60 per cent.

“It has advantages over solar in this respect, because in solar you are limited to daytime sunshine, which is typically about 22 per cent,” Mr Riggs said.