There are many different business models how mining companies can generate profit with renewable energy. Some are not even linked to mining itself. Some big mining companies such as MSPL Limited or Essel Mining & Industries Limited have extended their business field and have built wind parks. Their activity in renewable energy is not directly related to their mining business. They do not generate electricity for self-consumption. There are many other business models in which the electricity generated at wind or solar installations is directly consumed at mines. As many mining companies do not consider electricity generation as one of their core competencies, opportunities for external investors or for rental / leasing models occur.
Various factors are influencing the optimal electricity generation at mining sites. Some of these are external factors such as sun and wind conditions, grid-availability or grid stability. Some are directly related to the mining company, e.g. environmental sustainability policies, availability of capital or whether or not energy is considered as a core competence. Other factors are rather related with the mining site. Almonst these are the remaining lifetime of the mine, the load-profile or the need of process-heat.
Depending on several internal or external factors a mining company may apply various business models for renewable energy:
Especially at remote locations which are diesel-powered there is often an excellent business case. So called hybrid-power plants generate solar or wind energy when the conditions permit. If there is not much wind or sun diesel gensets contribute to a larger extend to the total electricity generation. For more details see the hybrid power plant section.