17 MW Energy Storage Project For Mali Mine

By Jack Burke02 December 2019

Wärtsilä has been contracted to design and engineer a 17MW/15MWh energy storage for a mine in southwest Mali.

The order was placed by B2Gold, a Canadian based public gold-mining company. This project is the first hybrid-project between Wärtsilä and B2Gold.

The Fekola Mine, which currently relies on conventional liquid fuels for its power, will transition to Wärtsilä’s energy storage and hybrid energy system, which is based on the company’s GEMS energy management solution. The cost savings and improved power reliability it offers were key considerations in the award of the contract, the companies said.

Fekola is the first mine in the region to add energy storage and solar to their operations. Wärtsilä’s advanced GEMS technology will not only control the new energy storage system, but will also control a new 30MW solar plant currently under construction. In addition, GEMS is designed to continuously optimize energy production for the entire mine.

“We chose Wärtsilä because of their experience in the region, and because of their capabilities in designing and managing hybrid plants,” said Jan Clausen, project manager at B2Gold. “We wanted to optimize full electricity generation at the mine using solar and energy storage. A key part of this solution is Wärtsilä’s state-of-the-art GEMS technology; it was an easy decision.”

Hybrid systems with energy storage can provide energy stability and an overall improvement in operations for remote mining locations where the conditions are often challenging. The payback time on such investments is typically short, since the cost of supplying fuel to remote locations can be excessive, Wärtsilä said. The company completed similar projects in Africa.

“Hybrid solutions with renewable energy sourced power operations, are a realistic and effective means for increasing energy reliability and lowering operating costs for the mining sector,” said Risto Paldanius, business development director, Energy Storage & Optimisation at Wärtsilä Energy Business. “These remote locations are ideally suited for hybrid systems. Our extensive experience with microgrids in various climatic and geographical conditions will help the Fekola mine, and others of its kind, to achieve their environmental and cost saving goals.”

The hybrid system is created through a combination of renewables and an energy storage control system designed to form an environmentally sound and cost-efficient power source. GEMS, now in its sixth generation, will utilize artificial intelligence (AI), and automated decision-making based on real-time and forecasted data, including load demand and weather, to optimally operate the system’s assets and maximize efficiencies.

This latest in a string of orders that Wärtsilä has received from Africa will bring Wärtsilä’s total installed base on the continent to more than 7400 MW.

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