Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project
Client: EDL Energy
Location: Western Australia
Date: March 2019– October 2020
Developing an advanced microgrid control system for the largest hybrid renewable power station in Australia's mining sector
Many industries are looking to decarbonise or find cheaper and more secure solutions to remote energy provision. In particular, at a large mine site, supply reliability and stability are paramount as an outage can significantly impact the bottom line and cause safety concerns.
The Agnew Hybrid Renewable Power Station, owned and operated by energy producer EDL, powers global mining company Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine with high renewable energy fraction with 99.99% reliability by combining 18 MW of wind, 4 MW of solar and 21 MW of diesel/gas-fired generation, supported by a 13 MW / 4 MWh battery system and advanced microgrid control system. It is the first of its kind in the mining sector in Australia, and certainly the largest.
Entura was involved across a number of aspects of the project, including development and commissioning of the microgrid control system, which coordinates all the power system elements to maximise the amount of renewable energy used and to ensure the system remains stable. The control system calculates and communicates set-points for the solar, wind, battery systems and thermal plant depending on the variable system conditions, managing the renewables and battery in relation to the thermal power station.
Entura was also engaged to provide power systems modelling and protection system studies for various parts of the project. The modelling of the Agnew microgrid has focused on two main system requirements: the range of operating scenarios for which the system can remain stable; and interactions and coordination of the sub-system controllers across the generation and storage sources.
It is not the first time this sort of modelling has been done on a microgrid, but this combination of industrial-scale loads with a variety of renewables and conventional generation equipment makes a unique environment to expand the capability of Entura’s advanced microgrid control system and overall hybrid integration.
Entura’s achievement is significant in the context of using gas engines instead of diesel-based systems (the more common back-up technology in hybrid systems). Gas engines are more economical to run but pose a bigger challenge for system integration due to higher minimum load requirements and slower response times.
- Hybrid renewables control system development
- Hybrid control systems integration
- Power system studies
- Power system protection design
- Power system commissioning support
The Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project advanced microgrid control system is another significant advance in Entura’s hybrid journey, and demonstrates that reliable supply can be achieved with a significant contribution from variable renewable sources. The target of supplying over half the mine’s energy demand from renewable energy has already been achieved and, at times, over 80% has been achieved in favourable weather conditions.
The project is a true showcase providing strong proof of the role of renewables at scale in the mining industry as it embraces both the sustainability and economic benefits from renewables.