An off-grid hybrid system for Fekola gold mine which combines a 30-MW solar power plant with a 15.4 MWh battery storage system, has been commissioned after approximately 12 months at least since its construction began.
In October 2019, BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH, and Suntrace GmbH, Germany’s largest renewable energy cluster of firms, were selected by B2Gold Corporation, a Canadian mining company that owns and operates the mine, for planning, engineering, installation, and operation of the site.
Construction works begun later that year with the commissioning of the facility expected to take place in August 2020. However, the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a suspension of the works and a delay in the schedule as a result.
Benefits of the project
Baywa re explained that the Fekola gold mine operates 24 hours a day and that the solar plant, which is the world’s largest of its kind in the mining sector, will replace three out of six heavy fuel oil generators while reducing the production of the remaining three generators during the daytime. This will enable saving around 13.1 million liters of heavy fuel oil per year.
In a statement, the company said, “The battery storage compensates energy generation fluctuations and assures a reliable operation, which allows up to 75% of the electricity demand of the gold mine to be covered by renewable energy during the daytime.”
Wärtsilä Corporation, a Finnish company that manufactures and services power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets, supplied the project’s storage systems which are based on its GEMS software platform for power monitoring and optimization.
Other than saving the mine 13.1 million liters of heavy fuel oil per year, the facility will reduce the CO2 emissions of the mine by 39,000 tonnes over the same period.