Zenith plans Australia’s largest off-grid hybrid power plant for mining op


From pv magazine Australia

Perth-based Liontown Resources is the latest mining company to back renewables to power its off-grid operations, engaging remote power generation specialist Zenith Energy to build a 95 MW hybrid solar PV, wind and battery energy storage system at its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in Western Australia.

Liontown Resources has awarded Zenith Energy a contract to supply power at its Kathleen Valley project on a build-own-operate basis. Zenith Energy will construct a 95 MW hybrid power station at the Kathleen Valley project, about 680 kilometers northeast of Perth.

The hybrid power station will feature 30 MW of wind capacity, a 16 MWp fixed-axis solar PV array, and a 17 MW/19 MWh battery energy storage system. The thermal power component will include 27 MW of gas generation and 5 MW of diesel standby generation.

With the thermal components of the power plant designed to operate in “engine off” mode at times, it is anticipated the hybrid power plant will deliver at least 60% renewable energy at the start and up to 100% during times of high wind and solar radiation.

Zenith Managing Director Hamish Moffat said that with a combined 46 MW of generation capacity and 17 MW of BESS, the hybrid power station is expected to have the largest off-grid renewable capacity of any mining project in the country.

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“It’s an exciting opportunity to showcase our expertise, and the ability of renewables to deliver reliable, continuous supply, to power an entire mining operation,” he said. “It will once again raise the industry benchmark in renewable energy integration and demonstrates our commitment to power decarbonisation.”

Moffat said the letter of award enables Zenith, which has installed capacity of more than 400 MW across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, to undertake planning, engineering and design work while the parties progress toward finalizing a binding power purchase agreement.

Liontown CEO Tony Ottaviano said Zenith will be incentivized to operate the power station in a manner that maximizes renewable power, with a renewable energy guarantee expected to be included in the definitive arrangements.

“We believe Zenith Energy is an ideal partner to delivery an industry leading hybrid power station to meet Liontown’s energy needs and requirements for a high-capacity renewable solution,” he said.

Liontown expects construction of the Kathleen Valley project to commence later this year. It is expected to initially produce about 500,000 tons of spodumene concentrate per year, but Liontown hopes to expand production to 700,000 tons by 2029.

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