Top 5 Microgrid News – Summer 2019 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Microgrid News” features two mining microgrids, a military application, an island solution, and an investment in an innovative microgrid company. It covers two projects in Australia, one in the USA and one in Nicaragua. 

Top 1

Australian gold mine to be powered with wind, solar and battery

The Western Australian Agnew gold mine will be the first mine to be powered by a wind, solar, battery and gas microgrid. The South African mining company Gold Fields continues its sustainability efforts in Australia after a first project at Granny Smith gold mine.

The new project will consist of five wind turbines (18 MW total capacity), a 4 MW solar system, a 13 MW / 4 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and a 16 MW gas and diesel engine power station. Energy producer EDL has signed a 10-year agreement with Gold Fields. In a first step, EDL will build the thermal and solar power plants which are due to be completed in mid-2019. The wind and battery systems will be added in a second step are expected to be commissioned in 2020. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is funding the project with AUS13.5 million. JuWi has been selected as solar EPC, Saft will provide the battery and Goldwind the wind turbines. 

James Harman, EDL CEO, explains: “The Agnew hybrid renewable project is the first in Australia to utilise wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the mining sector, and will enable EDL to provide Agnew gold mine with greater than 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability. This ground-breaking project is a major step in Australia’s journey to sustainable energy, and EDL has been an active contributor in this transition through our demonstrated success in hybrid renewable projects.”


Top 2

Ameresco completes microgrid with an 8MWh battery at US Marine Corps Depot

The project at the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in Parris Island, South Carolina generates power with a 3.5MW combined heat and power plant and a 5.5MW solar system. The microgrid project is expected to save USD6.9 million in annual utility and operational costs, cut utility energy demand by 75%, and lower water consumption by 25%. It did not require any upfront capital from the Marine Corps depot.


Top 3

Microgrid with 2.1 MW solar and 2.4 MWh storage inaugurated on Caribbean island in Nicaragua

The microgrid is located on Big Corn Island and includes besides PV plant also a lithium-ion battery solution and diesel gensets. It will be operated by the state-owned utility ENATREL. The project was supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Nicaraguan government. The hybrid power plant provides electricity to 1.940 households. There are plans to expand the system to two other villages on the island.


Top 4

Shell Ventures and Sumitomo invest in microgrid blockchain start-up LO3

In 2016, LO3 become famous with its Brooklyn Microgrid project that aggregates solar energy from several roof-tops and allows neighbors to buy and sell solar power among themselves using blockchain technology. Shell has made other investments in blockchain technology, e.g. using blockchain-based oil, derivatives and commodities trading platforms.

Kirk Coburn, Investment Director Shell Ventures, adds:Utilizing market principles at the grid edge can efficiently compensate customers for the value their DERs provide – both to other community-members seeking local clean energy, as well as the grid itself. A platform which allows that value to be shared within communities today, critically, engages people in new ways and establishes a market-based foundation from which to manage the grid of the future.”


Top 5

OZ Minerals to power their Australian mine with solar, wind and storage

Australian mining company OZ Minerals will integrate solar, wind and battery storage to power its Carrapeteena copper and gold mine, located to the north of Port Augusta. OZ Minerals will partner with SunSHIFT to deploy a pilot-scale hybrid energy system, that includes 250kW solar, 10kW wind and a 250kW lithium-ion storage solution. As part of the project, electric vehicle charging facilities for light vehicles used at the mine site will also be incorporated.

Andrew Cole, CEO OZ Minerals, comments about the potential role of microgrids in the Australian mining industry: “The ability for microgrids to be established in remote locations, often where renewable sources like wind, solar, thermal and hydro are found, also make them a potentially attractive, environmentally-friendly, reliable and cost-effective source of power for mining operations.”



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