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Leading power supplier helping miners with energy transition

AusIMM Bulletin
· 700 words, 3 min read
mine workers inspecting solar panels

Aggreko, a leader in mobile, modular power is partnering with the world’s biggest miners to use solar, wind and natural gas energy on-site as an alternative to traditional energy fuels such as diesel.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director George Whyte said environmental responsibility and new technology are changing the way electricity is generated, distributed, consumed, stored, and monitored.

Aggreko itself has vowed to invest AU$450 - $600 million (£250 million - £350 million) each year to support its own energy transition, including big spends in what it sees as a major growth area for its business: mining.

Mr Whyte said the company had already invested heavily in the mining sector in the past three years as miners requested alternatives to diesel.

‘Miners have the great challenge of reducing their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, as well as their own commitments to net-zero emission targets by 2030 and 2050,’ Mr Whyte said.

Miners – and increasingly those with unreliable or no access to grid power – are partnering with Aggreko to provide hybrid power solutions on site, which might include an energy mix of diesel, gas, solar, wind and battery storage.

Power can be switched to another source and scaled up or down, depending on the renewable power available and the operation’s daily requirements.

'I believe that in the future we will see more miners partnering with power providers who are able to provide highly efficient, but also low-carbon solutions,' Mr Whyte said.

'It is a de-risking strategy for miners, helping them to reduce their capital costs, while lowering their emissions. Instead of miners having to specialise in power solutions, Aggreko invests in the capital, remotely monitors it, and provides the maintenance and the technological upgrades along the way.'

Mr Whyte said global economic growth was driving the mining sector’s growth.

'Just 30 years from now – in 2050 – increasing electrification and the growing world population means global electricity demand is expected to rise by 70 per cent. This means the need for flexible, reliable and integrated solutions with lower carbon and local emissions has never been greater, and the market for temporary, distributed energy is growing,' he said.

Of the 80 countries in which Aggreko has a large presence, most of the hybrid power solutions it is delivering to mining sites are located across Australia, Africa, North America, Canada, Latin America, Africa, and South East Asia.

Rod Saffy, Aggreko’s Global Head of Mining, said while the mining industry is looking for economic, reliable, and available alternatives to fossil diesel, it would be a phased approach.

'Miners are interested in hybrid projects that utilise solar and battery storage and are looking to us to become their independent power provider for the life of their projects,' Mr Saffy said

Currently internal combustion engines (ICE) running diesel and natural gas are the baseline for temporary power generation. A trend towards natural gas means more virtual pipelines are being utilised where gas – both LNG and CNG – is trucked from a pipeline take-off point to the mine site, where distances are less than 1000km.

Hydrogen as a fuel source also plays an important role in Aggreko’s future decarbonisation strategy; particularly green hydrogen, where electrolysis is powered by renewable energy.

‘We are currently investing in pilot projects to understand its potential and limitations as a fuel for our customers,’ Mr Saffy said.

‘We are also exploring how we can integrate green hydrogen into our fleet, and how we can combine it with renewables and battery storage to build efficient and resilient hybrid systems, which simultaneously help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals.’

About Aggreko

Aggreko was established in 1962 and is now the world’s largest provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy services. For at least 30 years, Aggreko has been a leading power supplier in the global mining sector.

Active in more than 50 countries, Aggreko’s experienced team partners with industry professionals to maintain production, decrease capital investment, and reduce carbon emissions, while providing operational efficiency.

To find out more about Aggreko’s energy mix solutions, contact Aggreko Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy:

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