17MW/15MWh storage system for solar plant at gold mine in Mali

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Finnish marine and energy solutions provider Wärtsilä has agreed to supply Canadian gold miner B2Gold with a 17MW/15MWh energy storage system, based on its GEMS software platform for power monitoring and optimization.

The large-scale battery will be paired with a 30 MW solar power plant that the mining company is building at the Fekola gold mine in Mali. The storage system, which will be designed and engineered by Wärtsilä, will ensure the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for the mine, the company said.

Wärtsilä said the payback time for similar projects is typically short, as fuel costs for extremely remote locations can be excessive. Its GEMS software platform relies on artificial intelligence and automated decision-making, based on real-time and forecasted data, including load demand and weather conditions, to optimally operate the system’s assets and maximize efficiencies.

In mid-October, B2Gold selected BayWa r.e. and PV developer Suntrace to handle project planning and construction duties. The solar+storage facility will probably reduce heavy fuel oil consumption by 13.1 million liters per year.

In March, Wärtsilä said it would supply equipment to Essakane Solar SAS for a 15 MW hybrid PV plant in Burkina Faso. The solar farm will be built next to Wärtsilä’s 55 MW oil-driven power plant, to form what it says will be the largest hybrid power plant in Africa upon completion.

In an interview with pv magazine in January, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions President Javier Cavada outlined his vision for solar+storage. “Our unique value proposition is to become a leading hybrid integrator, which means providing solar+storage, solar+gas, or gas+storage, for example – all possible combinations, supported by total turnkey capability,” he said.