Solar-gas-battery hybrid to power iron ore mine in Australia

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Fortescue's Iron Bridge project. Image credit: Fortescue Metals Group

Solar and storage batteries will energise yet another mining site of a large hub in Western Australia, building on the 60MW solar project that was already announced last year.

On Thursday, Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group said it is pressing ahead with a new stage of a programme meant to power a mining complex in the Pilbara region, along Australia’s northwestern coast.  

The firm had announced last October it would mix a 60MW PV plant with gas power and batteries at a location in the complex – the Chichester hub – and has now put forward plans to roll out the same combination at Iron Bridge, northwest from Chichester.

The next stage will see solar (150MW) deployed alongside gas (150MW) and a “large-scale” storage battery at Iron Bridge, Fortescue said in a statement, adding that it will build, own and run the energy infrastructure.

Headquartered in Perth, Fortescue styles itself as one of the world’s largest iron ore producers and claims to ship 170 million tonnes of the mineral every year. Its Iron Bridge location is said to host one of the largest deposits of magnetite, an iron ore variety, in Australia.

The miner intends to invest US$700 million overall to fund the roll-out of solar and the other energy projects. The Chichester first phase has been earmarked US$250 million of that total, while the Iron Bridge hybrid will receive the remaining US$450 million.

The 60MW Chichester solar project is being developed by Alinta Energy, with funds from Australia’s green energy agency ARENA supporting the construction. Aside from the hybrid projects, Fortescue is planning to set up 275 kilometres of high-voltage transmission lines to link the various energy plants.

“Importantly, Pilbara Energy Connect allows for large-scale renewable generation such as solar or wind to be connected at any point on the integrated network,” Fortescue's CEO Elizabeth Gaines said in the statement on Thursday. 

Solar and storage batteries are increasingly becoming the choice of mining groups keen on cheaper electricity bills for energy-intensive operations. Fortescue aside, industry players going down this route in the past year include B2Gold, Nordgold, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold.

Read Next

February 22, 2021
Six Renewables Energy Zones to be created in Victoria as new ‘VicGrid’ body created to oversee the plans
February 17, 2021
Australia-based exploration company Province Resources has revealed plans to develop a renewables-powered hydrogen plant that will feature 1GW of solar and wind generation.
February 9, 2021
Rooftop solar PV installations grew 18% in Australia in 2020 despite the impacts of COVID-19, with Victoria in particular seeing a “spectacular comeback”.
February 1, 2021
Ahead of the Solar Finance and Investment Europe conference this week, organised by PV Tech publisher Solar Media, Gransolar Group managing partner and co-founder Ivan Higueras spoke to PV Tech about how utility-scale solar development has changed in recent years and the prominent role vanadium redox flow batteries could play in the future.
January 29, 2021
The results of Spain’s auction this week for 3GW of renewables capacity have been widely welcomed by the country’s solar sector, but calls have been made to tweak future auctions to support smaller-scale projects as well as encourage the participation of bids with energy storage.
January 28, 2021
The latest round-up of project news, including updates from VivoPower on its 39MWdc Molong Solar Farm, PNE USA on four acquisitions, SolarArise on its 75MW commission and EEW on a 260MW sale.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
March 9, 2021
Solar Media Events
March 17, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021