95MW solar PV and battery plant fires up at Western Australian lithium mine

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Kathleen Valley Lithium Project is an AU$951 million (US$633 million) venture. Image: Liontown Resources.

Australian mining firm Liontown Resources has confirmed that its 95MW hybrid emission-free power station, consisting of solar, wind turbines, and battery energy storage, has started powering parts of its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project, a battery metals mine in Western Australia.

The hybrid power station at Kathleen Valley consists of a 16MW solar PV farm, an 17MW battery energy storage system (BESS), five 6MW (30MW) wind turbines, 27MW of gas generation and 5MW of diesel-fueled generation. It is expected to be one of the largest off-grid wind-solar-battery storage renewable energy facilities in the Australian mining industry.

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Liontown revealed that the hybrid project is now collectively powering its accommodation village and process plant with renewable energy alongside diesel and gas generation.

Kathleen Valley Lithium Project is an AU$951 million (US$633 million) venture located in an established mining region about 60km north of Leinster and 680km north-east of Perth. It is recognised as a tier-1 battery metals asset with excellent grade and scale.

As previously reported by PV Tech, Australian-based solar equipment manufacturer 5B was appointed to supply its Maverick module technology for the project. In contrast, Zenith Energy was selected for development and construction.

5B creates rapid-deployment, accordion-style folding solar module deployment units that mount low to the ground in an east-west configuration. The technology is prefabricated in the factory and then shipped to a project site to be deployed.

Liontown development general manager Kirit Chauhan said that the firm was “incredibly proud” of the milestone with plans to soon power its underground mine with renewable energy from the plant.

“After more than two years of planning and now development and execution, we’ve completed the construction of our hybrid power station and are a long way through our testing and commissioning,” Chauhan said.

“We are exceptionally proud to announce the fact that we have now powered up our camp, our process plant, both from a commissioning and from a front-end operational perspective, and soon we’ll be powering our underground mine from our hybrid power station, including over 60% of renewables.”

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