- The 30 MW/15.4 MWh solar-plus-storage plant at the Fekola gold mine owned by Canadian gold mining company B2Gold in Mali, has exceeded performance expectations.
- Baywa re and solar developer Suntrace GmbH were the IPP/EPC contractors while Finnish marine and energy solutions provider Wärtsilä supplied a storage system based on its GEMS software platform for power monitoring and optimization.
- The USD 38 million plant saves around 13.1 million liters of heavy fuel oil per year.
The plant continues to exceed projected plant performance and fuel savings since full commisioning in April this year. “As part of the project implementation team we are proud to see how reliable and well this landmark hybrid plant is performing”, says Lukas Haack, Head of Engineering and Fekola Project Manager at Suntrace.
The mine operates 24 hours a day and that the solar plant will replace three out of six heavy fuel oil generators while reducing the production of the remaining three generators during the daytime. The 15.4 MWh 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.
“Integrating such a large amount of solar into a small, isolated grid safely and reliably has been a major technical challenge and required the use of battery storage as well as a tailor-made control system,” said Baywa re project manager Thorsten Althaus. “This was conceptualized in the early stages of the project and we ensured that our vision was implemented accordingly by the suppliers.”
Finnish marine and energy solutions provider Wärtsilä supplied a storage system based on its GEMS software platform for power monitoring and optimization, for the project. The company said the payback time for similar projects is typically short, as fuel costs for extremely remote locations can be excessive.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal
Wärtsilä leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. They help their customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform.