SA mines turn to hybrid solar power plants to cut costs
Publish date: 14 November 2017
Issue Number: 533
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Hybrid solar power plants can reduce the fuel costs of mines and industry and provide reliable power at a predictable rate. A TimesLIVE report notes that Greg Austin, managing director of renewable energy company Juwi, recently gave concrete examples of where solar power plants are working at African Utility Week in Cape Town. Juwi commissioned the world's biggest solar-battery-diesel hybrid system for the DeGrussa copper-gold mine in Western Australia. The remote mine is off the country's electricity grid‚ thanks to solar panels that cover an area that is roughly the size of 40 football pitches. It is saving some 20% on its former diesel consumption bill and is running smoothly. SA and regional mining operations are showing increasing interest in hybrid and green power solutions‚ Juwi executives revealed during a presentation. For example‚ solar PV supplies 60% of the power needed on a mine in Limpopo. Austin said: ‘Power prices for solar and wind are now cheaper than gas‚ coal and nuclear.’ Increasingly African utilities are approaching the private sector to help with generation gaps and the hybrid energy model is one of these solutions‚ said Austin.