Preloved wind turbines from Netherlands help power remote mine in Australian outback




A 2.5MW wind farm using five refurbished Enercon wind turbines will form part of an “Australian-first” hybrid renewables and battery storage microgrid that will power a garnet mine in Port Gregory, Western Australia.

In a video[1] posted on LinkedIn on Friday, Advanced Energy Resources documented the roadtrip that the preloved wind turbine parts took to the Moora microgrid following a sea voyage from their previous home in the Netherlands.

“Following a successful wind farm delivery of five refurbished 0.5MW Enercon E40 wind turbines at Port Gregory (near Kalbarri, WA) AER has managed all aspects of the dismantling and recommissioning of [the] turbines,” the accompanying LinkedIn post says.

“Moora microgrid will soon commence supplying renewable energy to local energy users in the Dandaragan/Moora area as a 7+MW microgrid incorporating wind, PV, biogas, battery storage and almost 50km of private HV network.”

As well as the refurbished turbines, AER’s Moora Microgrid, located around 50km south of Kalbarri, features a 1MW solar farm and a 2MW/0.5MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) using “an innovative, Australian first connection topology.”

According to the website, the microgrid’s battery is manufactured by Kokam and the battery inverters by Siemens.

AER says the microgrid will supply energy to GMA Garnet’s operations in Port Gregory – which that company describes[2] as the highest producing garnet mine in the world.

Excess generation from the microgrid that is not used to power GMA’s operations will be exported into the local electricity network, AER says.

In comments under the LinkedIn post, AER’s Lucas Castelli says the company has put the project together after starting work on the concept about six years ago.

“It is privately owned and operates as a build/own/operate model – well received on several fronts by local land owners/energy offtakers,” Castelli says.

The microgrid received federal funding from ARENA, as well as $1.8 million from the second round of the WA government’s Clean Energy Future Fund, which Castelli says was “critical” to the project’s success.

On the project web page[3], AER says the microgrid’s battery was designed to overcome challenges associated with connections to weak, fringe of grid electricity networks.

“The design can provide backup power during grid outages, and facilitates a very high penetration of customer-side renewable generation (up to 90%),” AER says.

“The BESS has been designed to offer on-demand support to the local electricity network in future should this be required by the network operator.”

The problem of what to do with used wind turbine parts – and particularly the hard-to-recycle blades – is something the wind industry is currently trying to grapple with as some of the earliest wind farms installed around the globe come to the end of their lives.

Refurbishing used turbines for applications like the Moora Microgrid presents a good option, particularly considering some microgrid applications might require smaller turbines and for shorter timeframes than expected of large-scale wind farms.





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