Aggreko wins 25.9MW hybrid power project in Chile

By Murray Pollok21 January 2021

Aggreko has signed a contract with mining company Gold Fields to provide 25.9 MW of solar and diesel power to the new Salares Norte open pit mine in Chile.

The installation will power the entire mine over its 10 years of production. Construction of the open cast mine, which is located at an altitude of 4,500 metres in the Andes mountains, has begun and production is expected to start in early 2023.

The hybrid power system will comprise high-altitude diesel gensets and Aggreko Solar Power units. The gensets will each deliver 772kW and provide 15 MW of power, supplemented by a solar panel array generating up to 9.9 MW.

There are no battery storage systems in the installation because the high altitude creates problems for the battery inverters, although Pablo Varela, Aggreko’s Latin America Managing Director, told IRN that solutions to this issue were being investigated.

Aggreko said the power plant will achieve US$7.4 million in cost of energy savings over the next decade and a further $1.1 million in carbon tax offset over the project lifetime, as well as 104,000 tonnes of carbon emissions savings.

“As the energy transition continues to gather pace, our customers are increasingly looking for more flexible power solutions which can reliably support operations whilst reducing carbon emissions and lowering costs”, said Varela.

“Hybrid products, such as the one we are deploying for Salares Norte, enable a reliable and flexible power supply whilst reducing carbon emissions, thanks to the incorporation of Aggreko Solar Power units as part of the system. Having a standardised product such as this provides the kind of consistency and reliability which our customers have come to expect from us”.

Aggreko and Gold Fields have worked together before, including the recent installation of a renewable microgrid at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine in Western Australia.

Varela told IRN that the partnership and trust between the two companies meant that there was built-in flexibility on the contract; “I’m sure that in 10 years the project will be totally different. It’s very important to have commercial flexibility to do that.”

IRN will carry a more detailed report on this project in its March issue.

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