GMA Garnet have commissioned AER (Advanced Energy Resources) to build a 3MW wind and solar farm Port Gregory in mid-Western Australia. Port Gregory is located 60 km south of Kalbarri (and 120km from the nearest substation, so this is a significant development for the GMA Garnet mine).
AER Solar Farm Port Gregory
Advanced Energy Resources, part of the Castelli Group, will develop the project for the GMA Garnet mine – it will supply almost 70% of the mine’s power – which will then in turn reduce carbon footprint by about 5,000 tones of carbon dioxide per annum. The West reported that CFO of GMA, Grant Cox said the farm will help the mine reduce input costs in combating the increasing cost of electricity – and also lauded the environmental impact of the the project – “We are proud to be moving our operation to have the lowest carbon emissions in the industry,” he said.
AER MD Luca Castelli also spoke proudly of the collaboration – noting the company’s proven track record of embedded renewable energy generation – and how it is a lot cheaper than ‘dirty’ power generated through fossil fuels. “We are proud to be partnering with GMA Garnet in this groundbreaking project which will credibly display how AER can reduce costs for large energy users while providing tangible benefits to regional electricity networks and fringe of grid areas” Castelli said.
AER, which was founded in 2006, already owns and operates a renewable portfolio so this is a welcome addition.
Funding renewables for mines is still a new idea and faces a lot of challenges – with National Australia Bank (NAB)’s global head of resources, energy, and Northern Australia, Phillip Mak, recently addressing a panel on renewable energy in resources on the issue. Mak was quoted as telling the Energy and Mines Summit in Perth“…the big challenge is convincing miners, investors and bankers, that the integration is very well understood and reliable”.
This is a great step for Western Australian Solar and it’s also positive seeing renewable energy in resources become a larger part of our renewables conversation, given that natural resources contribute significantly to export performance and also to our GDP, albeit to a lesser degree.