Elsewhere in Western Australia, copper miner, Oz Minerals is looking to build a 55 MW hybrid diesel-solar-wind solution[5] as a baseline of up to 70% of the West Musgrave Project’s operational needs. Another microgrid hybrid project[6], consisting of a 2.5 MW wind farm, a 1 MW solar farm and a 2 MW/0.5 MWh battery, will provide up to 70% of the electricity needs of a nearby garnet mining and processing plant run by GMA Garnet.

In one of the biggest renewable energy projects in the resource sector, WA’s Pilbara region is set to be home to the first major iron ore mining operation in Australia to be run entirely off renewable energy during the day. The Chichester mining hub run by resources giant Fortescue Metals and built by Downer Group will be powered by a massive 60 MW solar farm coupled with a 35 MW/11 MWh battery facility[7].

And the list goes on. Mining behemoth Rio Tinto has recently approved the construction of a $98 million solar + battery energy storage system at its Koodaideri mine in the Pilbara. The project will feature a 34 MW solar PV plant alongside a 12 MWh lithium-ion battery. Other notable developments in Western Australia include a 7.3 MW solar array and 2 MW/1 MWh battery at the Granny Smith gold mine[9] in the Eastern Goldfields region and a 6.7 MW solar PV array at the Nova nickel-copper mine[10] located in the Fraser Range. [8]

Presently, Australia’s largest operating solar PV installation at the mining site is the DeGrussa project[11] – a hybrid system located at Sandfire’s copper and gold mine site in Western Australia, which comprises a 10.6 MW solar facility coupled with a 6 MWh battery facility – integrated with an existing diesel generator. The project reached full operation in May 2016.